The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), together with members of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Jumhooree Party (JP), Maldives Democratic Alliance (MDA), Adhaalath Party (AP) and Independent MP, have submitted a motion of no confidence against the Speaker of the People’s Majlis (parliament) on Wednesday 8 March.
The motion cited the Speaker’s:
1- Refusal to ensure fairness in the conduct of Parliament;
2- Complete disregard of the rule of law;
3- Enabling of unconstitutional laws;
4- Role in eroding the system of checks and balances;
5- Blatant disregard of Parliamentary procedures;
6- Role in subverting Maldivian democracy.
The motion cited the Speaker’s failure to uphold the spirit of the Constitution and parliamentary procedures. It also highlighted the Speaker’s failure to remain free from political bias, which is preventing parliamentarians from carrying out their duties.
The motion cited the Speaker’s role in deliberately undermining Parliament’s oversight mandate. The Speaker has deliberately ignored requests from opposition MPs to summon government officials for questioning on matters of public importance and national development. Acting in a brazenly bias manner, the Speaker has worked to deny parliament any opportunity to hold the Government accountable.
The Speaker has also entertained no confidence motions against cabinet ministers, members of the judiciary and heads of independent institutions but denied them the right of reply. This breaches principles of natural justice.
The Speaker has unilaterally cancelled sessions of parliament citing “no work”, while numerous crucial legislation and issues remain to be debated. The Speaker’s actions have eroded public trust in the Parliament.
While it is the Speaker’s duty to ensure fair and substantial debate on legislation and issues, parliamentarians are not afforded sufficient time or opportunity to review important bills. The Speaker routinely tables bills, committee reports and other issues of national interest without due notice, in a deliberate attempt to obstruct parliamentarians’ work.
The Speaker has prevented the opposition from submitting any legislation, while repeatedly tabling and entertaining bills that are blatantly unconstitutional, such as the recent defamation law, which severely restricts freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.
The motion notes that the Speaker’s actions have led to a severe erosion of public trust in Parliament. The motion highlights the Speaker’s political bias and raises concerns over his role in suppressing Maldivians’ civil and political rights, thereby compromising Constitutional democracy.
Commenting on the motion of no confidence, MDP parliamentary leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih stated:
“Today, parliamentarians from across the political spectrum put their differences aside in order to protect Maldivian democracy and Maldivians’ fundamental rights.
“The Speaker has played a critical role enabling President Yameen’s attempts to turn the Maldives into a dictatorship. He has repeatedly acted outside of the law, trampled over parliamentary proceedings, and treated MPs and the public with contempt.
“It is right for MPs to submit this motion, and we are confident that it will pass.”