Lawmakers submit bill to abolish Anti-Defection Act

Deputy leader of PPM's parliamentary group, Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed. (File Photo/People's Majlis)

Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed has submitted a Bill to abolish the Anti-Defection Act passed by the People’s Majlis earlier this year.

The submission of the Bill by the deputy leader of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s parliamentary group to abolish the Anti-Defection Act follows media reports of a rift between him and President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Riyaz Rasheed reported to ‘Sun’ that he submitted the Bill last Wednesday.

“I have proposed abolishing the Act because it is preventing lawmakers from executing their legal duties,” said Riyaz Rasheed.

The Anti-Defection Act was formed following the Supreme Court order on July 13, 2017 which says lawmakers will be disqualified from their parliamentary seats for floor crossing. The Supreme Court in its order instructed the formation of the Anti-Defection Act.

The opposition had previously filed a petition with the Supreme Court to abolish the Anti-Defection Act. But the court had ruled that the Act must stand.

12 lawmakers were disqualified from the parliamentary seats following the establishment of the Anti-Defection Act. Supreme Court has since ordered the reinstatement of four of the lawmakers, and the other eight lawmakers await judgement by the Supreme Court on their petitions.

Opposition lawmakers have also announced they will submit a Bill to abolish another contentious Act, the Anti-Defamation Act, this Thursday.