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Bill to amend Constitution to bar former presidents from parliament

24 January 2019, MVT 12:10
The bill allegedly targets Former President Mohamed Nasheed, the only former President contesting in the upcoming Parliamentary Elections, slated for April. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI
24 January 2019, MVT 12:10

An amendment barring former Presidents from contesting for Parliament was submitted to the constitution on Thursday.

The amendment was submitted by member of Jumhooree Party and lawmaker of Dhidhdhoo constituency, Abdul Latheef Mohamed. He had previously submitted the same amendment to the Parliamentary Elections Act, which was not retracted.

Latheef proposed the amendment to the constitution, seeking to add a new clause under Subject 73 (a), which states that candidates contesting in parliamentary elections cannot be former presidents.

This amendment to the constitution will only be passed with a majority vote of two-thirds of the parliament, which is 53 members or more.

Mohamed Nasheed is the only former president who is contesting and campaigning for the upcoming parliamentary elections. Hence, his party, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) accused Latheef of targeting the amendment personally at Nasheed.

Latheef, who joined Jumhoory Party recently, had submitted the amendment to the Parliamentary Elections Act without holding any discussions with the joint parliamentary group of the ruling coalition.

Subsequently, leader of the joint parliamentary group and Jumhooree Party’s parliamentary group, Abdulla Riyaz, ordered Latheef to retract the amendment.

Latheef submitted the amendment to the constitution after refusing to withdraw the amendment submitted to the Parliamentary Elections Act.

Detailing the reason for submitting the amendment, Latheef stated that the current requirements for being a parliament member was decided based on the situation of the country in 2008. He further stated that the individuals who had served as president during the past 10 years receive allowances and security as well as other expenditures.

Latheef emphasized that former presidents should follow the footsteps of sample democracies and cater to the country by offering their services freely.

Additionally, Latheef also believes that other candidates do not get fair chances when a former president is running against them in the parliamentary elections.

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