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Parliamentary committee backs motion to nullify Anti-Defection Act

Shaina Abdulla
31 October 2018, MVT 21:42
Shaina Abdulla
31 October 2018, MVT 21:42

The Parliament Committee on Independent Institutions, on Wednesday, backed the motion to nullify the Anti-Defection Act.

The seven-member parliamentary committee which reviewed the bill unanimously backed the motion and agreed to nullify the Act without bringing any further changes.

The motion to nullify the Anti-Defection Act was filed to the parliament by ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)'s MP of Vilufushi constituency, Riyaz Rasheed.

Riyaz stated the reason for nullification of the Anti-Defection Bill as the bill being obstructive for lawmakers to work in accordance with Article 75 and 90 of the Constitution as well as to uphold their responsibilities.

The Anti-Defection Bill had been passed with 36 votes in favour from pro-government MPs. The Anti-Deflection Bill states that if a lawmaker defected or was expelled from the political party they were registered to at the time of election, they would automatically lose their seat in the parliament.

The Parliament Committee on Independent Institutions had earlier reviewed the bill and stated that it would be put into effect retrospectively from July 13, 2017, which is when the Supreme Court first issued its contentious ruling on floor-crossing and expelled several MPs from the parliament.

The bill was appealed at the apex court on March 15, just two days after the parliament passed it, by opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) parliamentary group leader and President-Elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Jumhoory Party (JP) member and Kendhoo MP Ali Hussain and the only lawmaker from Adhaalath Party, Makunudhoo MP Anara Naeem.

The top court had ruled against the opposition, stating that the Anti-Defection Bill cannot be nullified and that it is constitutionally valid.

With the ratification of the bill, Elections Commission (EC) had upheld the court's verdict and stripped 12 lawmakers of their seats in parliament.

However, the Supreme Court, in October 2018, reinstated all 12 disqualified lawmakers at the parliament.

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