President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said that his personal preference was a presidential system, but the ultimate decision regarding the governance system will be made by his party, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).
The outgoing president shared his view on Monday, October 2, at a press conference where he stressed on his endorsement to a presidential system of governance.
"In my personal opinion, a presidential system is the best option for the country. But that is my own preference. The party's decision will be its own, and I will comply to the party's decision," president Solih said.
While the president expressed his preferential governance system, MDP is currently preparing to hold its national council meeting on Tuesday, October 3 to make a final decision regarding its endorsement for a governance system.
Several MDP members had presented their arguments in the party's WhatsApp group where majority of the members were against changing the system.
The debate kicked off after parliament speaker Mohamed Nasheed expressed his enthusiasm to rejoin MDP and had requested from the current ruling party to endorse parliamentary system.
President Solih said that the arguments from the members indicated that 99 percent of MDP national council's members were against both Nasheed rejoining the ruling party and supporting for a parliamentary system. He said the party will make a formal decision at the council meeting.
Nasheed founded The Democrats and had earlier launched efforts to bring a parliamentary system to the Maldives, which they attempted to achieve through the parliament. Their member and presidential candidate for the first round, Ilyas Labeeb, presented a resolution seeking a public referendum for a system change, which was approved in the parliament with MDP's support.
Following parliament's approval, the resolution was forwarded to the Elections Commission (EC) with the instruction to hold a referendum vote.
However, the Elections Commission (EC) stated that the question needed for the referendum was absent and requested the parliament to provide information on the lacking details.
Although a parliament sitting was tabled for Monday, to discuss revisions to the resolution, the sitting was cancelled owing to lack of quorum.
President Solih highlighted that 75 percent votes were required to pass the recently submitted amendment to the Constitution. He also noted that a parliament approval alone was insufficient for a constitutional amendment as it requires public vote as well.
"[Amendment] can be implemented only after a public referendum. This is stipulated by the Constitution if such a provision needs to be amended, so when said process comes I will be visiting to the public," president Solih said.
"If the public refuse [the amendment] I cannot implement it."
The outgoing president further said that the Maldivian citizens have decided on who they wish as their next president, and said that he did not believe in upending the public's decision in favor of a change in the governance system.