Ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), on Tuesday, expressed its stance against the opposition coalition's move to pursue a motion of no-confidence against Minister of Home Affairs Abdulla Imran.
MDP parliamentary group leader and Henveiru Central MP Ali Azim asserted that the party's representatives had full trust in the government and would not be swayed by the opposition's endeavours on controversial matters.
Azim made the aforementioned statement after Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed confirmed that the opposition coalition of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the People's National Congress (PNC) had lodged a motion of no confidence against the home minister, along with the signatures of 11 MPs. Former president Nasheed stated that the matter was added to the parliament's agenda and that Minister Imran would be notified.
According to Azim, all MDP parliamentarians had full confidence in the capabilities of the incumbent administration and particularly recognized the efforts of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. He added that MDP's parliamentary representatives would act in accordance with the party's agenda.
However, the parliamentary group leader did not directly express confidence in Home Minister Imran.
According to parliamentary regulations, a no-confidence motion against a cabinet minister must be lodged with at least 10 parliamentarians' signatures. However, such motions must be backed by a majority of the parliament during a vote in order to secure approval.
MDP currently holds a super-majority in the parliament, occupying 65 out of the total 87 seats.
The opposition coalition revealed their intention to pursue a motion of no-confidence against the home minister on Sunday, citing problematic public rhetoric concerning three high profile cases, including the murder of former MP Dr Afrasheem Ali, the enforced disappearance of journalist Ahmed Rilwan and the safari sexual assault case.
Minister Imran is the president of the religiously conservative Adhaalath Party, which is one of the three major political parties included in the ruling coalition.
The opposition's no confidence motion highlighted that Imran's recent remarks minimizing the severity of the safari sexual assault case implied undue influence over an ongoing investigation and delivered a blow to public confidence that perpetrators of gender-based violence would be brought to justice.
Speaking on air during a programme on national radio station 'Dhivehi Raajjeyge Adu' on Saturday, the minister stated that the case was a "minor" incident that "could have been perpetrated in a public space" without attracting attention.
Minister Imran's comments caused a public uproar on social media, leading to the use of the hashtag #Kudakameh (small matter), derived from a direct quote of the broadcasted interview, to express their disagreement with his views and criticize the poor conviction rate of sexual offenders and inadequate enforcement of laws protecting women and children.
On Sunday, Shafeea Riza and Noorban Fahmy, the legal representatives of the Kenyan woman who was sexually assaulted in June aboard a safari docked at Hulhumale' lagoon, addressed a letter to Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed which condemned Imran's remarks and requested the parliament to launch a no-confidence investigation concerning the home minister.