Nasheed calls for referendum on parliamentary system next year

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed. (File Photo/Sun)

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed states it would be beneficial to conduct a referendum to decide whether Maldives should switch to a parliamentary system of government next year.

In response to a question during an episode of Ask Speaker on Monday night, Nasheed said he plans on running in the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) primary for the next presidential election, but prefers a parliamentary system of government over a presidential system.

Maldives held a referendum back in 2007, during former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s administration, to decide whether Maldives should have a presidential system or a parliamentary system. The presidential system – backed by Maumoon- won. Then-opposition MDP had campaigned for a parliamentary system.

Nasheed said on Monday he believes a constitutional referendum should be taken next year to decide whether Maldives should switch to a parliamentary system.

“I believe the governance will improve with a parliamentary system. Its useful to hold a referendum in 2022 to make the change,” he said.


Nasheed also stated that he believes opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom himself will work together with Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to campaign for a parliamentary system ahead of the referendum.

Former Maldivian presidents Mohamed Nasheed (R) and Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom (C). (File Photo/President's Office)

“I don’t believe there’ll be a presidential election in Maldives. I believe President Yameen will work together with me to establish a parliamentary system in Maldives. And when the referendum is taken, I believe we can face the referendum with PPM and MDP together,” he said.

Nasheed also added that he never wished ill for Yameen, who is serving a prison term for money laundering, and hopes for all political leaders to be able to participate in all national elections.

Yameen, like Nasheed, had backed a parliamentary system of government back during the 2007 referendum.


Nasheed was also asked about the IED attack outside his residence on May 6, which his own daughter, Meera Nasheed, has described as an “inside job”.

Nasheed said he does not believe the government had been involved in the incident, which the police are investigating as a targeted terror attack to assassinate him.

“I don’t believe, even a little, that the government had been involved in the attack. Everyone knows I, myself, am [part of] the government. The president of my party is serving as president [of the country]. And our party holds majority at the Parliament,” he said.

Police at the scene of an explosion outside the residence of Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed on May 6, 2021. (Photo/Maldives Police Service)

A homemade remote-controlled IED was strapped to motorcycle parked nearby Nasheed’s residence, and was detonated at 08:27 pm on May 6, just as Nasheed, exited his residence and went to get in his car. Nasheed was thrown to the ground and sustained multiple shrapnel wounds, while three members of his security detail and two bystanders sustained minor wounds.

He was rushed to ADK Hospital, where he underwent multiple lifesaving surgeries to remove ball bearings and other shrapnel, some of which perforated his internal organs.

He was transferred to a military hospital in Germany on May 13, and is now in the United Kingdom for further treatment.

Police have made five arrests in connection to the case; Ahmed Adhuham Rasheed, 26, Hiyaa, GDh. Thinadhoo; Mujaz Ahmed, 21, Ma. Feyruge, K. Male’; Thahmeen Ahmed, 32, Folheyma, GA. Kondey; Ahmed Fathih, 23, Dhunfini Ufaa, L. Gan; and Ali Haisham, 27, Nooreege, N. Manadhoo.