Team heading the constitutional referendum petition begins meeting political parties

Team heading the constitutional referendum petition meets with Maldives National Party's leadership on September 21, 2021. (Photo/Nishan Ibrahim)

The team behind the petition calling for a constitutional referendum to switch from a presidential system to a parliamentary system has begun meeting political parties – seeking their support for the petition.

Renowned lawyer Nishan Ibrahim who had drafted up the petition had told Sun that the team began meeting with political parties yesterday – adding that an official invitation to hold discussions regarding the petition has been sent to all political parties.

“We have sent invitations for discussion to all political parties in the Maldives. Hopefully, we can hold discussions with all the parties in the upcoming days,” he had said.

Nishan further explained that the decision to meet with political parties was taken with the fact that working to change the governance system is of national interest. In this regard, he noted that they have met with members of the Maldivian National Party (MNP) yesterday.

“Changing the system of governance is of national interest. It is also connected to the interest of the people. It is something which will impact them as well. Thus, while carrying out this work, it is important to meet with the political parties formed in the Maldives and hold discussions,” he detailed.

Speaking further, Nishan said that they have collected almost 1,000,000 signatures for the petition so far – nearing their goal. The aim of the petition is to collect 1,000,000 signatories within 100 days.

He also added that the work on collecting signatures is underway daily – adding that in order to further increase the number of signatories, they are currently doing at door-to-door campaign at Hulhumale’.

Nishan also added the upon collecting that targeted the number of signatures – the petition would be presented both to the President and the Parliament, along with a request to hold a constitutional referendum.

Supporters of Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed – a strong advocate for a parliamentary system – have been signing the petition, including some sitting MPs.

The last time a constitutional referendum was held in the Maldives was back in 2007 – during former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom’s administration. Back then, 92 percent of the voters favored a presidential system.