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Delays in parliament for no confidence motion against AG Riffath

Malika Shahid
05 June 2023, MVT 12:08
Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath answers questions from MP's during a previous session of parliament -- Photo: Parliament
Malika Shahid
05 June 2023, MVT 12:08

The debate on the no-confidence motion against Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath in the Chagos case has been adjourned due to protests by members of the opposition Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and People's National Congress (PNC).

On Wednesday, the Attorney General did not appear in parliament to defend himself against the no-confidence motion. Instead, he sent his defense in writing, stating that he intended to provide a detailed explanation of the matter to the public.

Parties other than the MDP argued that the Attorney General should be present in parliament as the General Committee has set a specific time for him to appear and respond. They highlighted that the Constitution grants Ministers the right to present their defense through both oral and written means.

During Wednesday's session, Stating that there was a difference of opinion on the issue, the Speaker proposed seeking the advisory opinion of the Supreme Court. However, the decision was later reversed, and the matter was placed on the agenda for today's session after AG Riffath he would appear before parliament and present his defense in person.

As soon as today's parliament session began, members from PPM and PNC began protesting and the matter was adjourned for discussion.

When the session resumed, PNC MP Adam Shareef was given the opportunity to present the motion on behalf of the 13 MPs who signed the no-confidence motion against the Attorney General.

MP Shareef said the matter could not be moved forward without clarifying the reason behind AG Riffath's change in decision to appear before parliament.

"Do you admit that you made a mistake that day?" MP Shareef asked.

When repeatedly asked by the Speaker to submit the motion, MP Shareef requested for additional time to consult with the minority leader. In response, the Speaker adjourned the session for the second time today.

When the session resumed and Adam Shareef started moving the matter, the opposition members took up the point of order one by one and complained that Riffath had not attended the previous day's session. Members aligned with the government also took a point of order and asked the Speaker to dismiss the no-confidence motion.

When the session resumed and MP Adam Shareef began addressing the matter, opposition members raised multiple points of order, expressing their grievances regarding Attorney General Riffath's absence from the previous day's session. Members aligned with the government had also raised their own points of order, urging the Speaker to dismiss the no-confidence motion.

Although the General Committee had allocated two hours for the debate on the no-confidence motion against Riffath, the session was adjourned for tea at 10:30 a.m.

In addition to AG Riffath, the opposition has also submitted a no-confidence motion against Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, accusing him of "selling the sea" over the maritime boundary dispute between Maldives and Mauritius.