Parliamentarians’ trips to constituencies declared official visits

Lawmakers pictured during a parliamentary sitting. (Photo/People's Majlis)

The Parliament has made the decision to classify trips by parliamentarians to their constituencies as official visits.

The decision was made with reference to Article 240 of Parliament’s regulations by the Parliament’s General Purpose Committee on Sunday.

The committee’s decision was announced by Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed during the parliamentary sitting on Monday morning.

Nasheed said that parliaments will hereafter need to submit written requests to the Parliament’s Secretariat for their visits to constituencies to be approved as official visits, and that parliaments cannot embark on such visits until they receive approval.

Nasheed said that parliamentarians on such visits will be mark in the attendance of both general sittings and committee meetings as on official visits, and that if a parliament on an official visit wishes to join a committee meeting, arrangements will be made to the parliamentarian join the meeting remotely.

Article 240 refers to approval to parliamentarians for trips at the Speaker’s discretion. It states that the Speaker may approve for a parliamentarian or parliamentarians to travel within the borders of Maldives or overseas for the purposes of the Parliament while the Parliament is in session. It also states that such trips may be financed through one of Parliament’s accounts.

Though Article 240 states that trips may be financed by the Parliament, it is unclear if the Parliament will finance trips by parliamentarians to their constituencies.

The change to the regulations to classify trips by parliamentarians to their constituencies as official visits comes ahead of the Local Council Elections, with many parliamentarians requesting leave to travel to their constituencies for the campaign.