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Maldives President, Foreign Minister against parliamentary system

Mohamed Rehan
17 August 2022, MVT 16:35
UNGA President Abdulla Shahid and President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih Joint Press Statement
Mohamed Rehan
17 August 2022, MVT 16:35

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has voiced his dissent to Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed's planned declaration for the upcoming Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) congress.

The Speaker is seeking approval to amend Maldives Constitution to shift the state governance from a presidential system to a parliamentary one.

Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid echoed similar sentiments. The minister claimed his support is strictly on electing a president through a public vote.

Nasheed has amped up efforts to seek support for his long-desired governance system. Earlier, the Speaker commented on Minister of Economic Development and current MDP Chairperson Fayyaz Ismail's support as crucial to landing a win in his drive to amend the constitution.

Fayyaz however, had shot down Nasheed's hopes when he publicly showed his support towards a presidential system.

President Solih, during an interview with "Raajje TV" commented this was not ample time to bring about a governance change in the Maldives. He also strongly believes on maintaining a system of electing a president through the vote of general public.

"Four years out of my term has proceeded with the government working to fulfill its pledges. There seems to be no issue with the system. I strongly suggest to withdraw the declaration for now," Solih commented.

Nasheed's argument for a parliamentary system is to secure a single-party win at the presidential election. He expressed concerns of a coalition-led governance, and claimed the best course of action is for a prime minister in the Maldives.

Previously, majority of the party's members inclusive of President Solih had shown support for parliamentary system. This was visible during the 2007 public referendum to assess public perception towards parliamentary system, during which the incumbent President had also endorsed the system.

The referendum concluded with presidential system winning the public vote.

Nasheed has presented a list of issues, which he is expected to put forward for discourse at the congress. These issues include;

- Changing governance to a parliamentary system, and appointing a prime minister

- Preparing a national list based on votes garnered by political parties

- Fixing maximum parliamentary member limit to 87

- Appointing the cabinet through parliamentary members

- Fixing Supreme Court judges bench to five

- Changing the framework of Judicial Service Commission

- Add a decentralization framework in the Maldives Constitution

President Solih's disapproval for a parliamentary system is made obvious by his earlier announcement of running for a second term.

On the other hand, Minister Shahid commented he supports separation of state powers, which will maintain mandate of state accountability with the parliament and legal interpretation and enforcement with the judiciary.