Opposition coalition boycotts special sitting of Parliament

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

Parliamentarians from the opposition coalition have boycotted the extraordinary parliamentary sitting scheduled for Thursday at the request of ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) – to make a decision regarding the dismissal of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) members.

The only item on the agenda for the extraordinary sitting scheduled for 10:00 am on Thursday is the vote on the dismissal of ACC members.

In a statement released regarding the matter – the opposition coalition described the extraordinary meeting as a conspiracy by the government to dismiss the ACC members during a time which the Parliament has gone to recess after concluding all its works for the session.

Stressing that the decision was taken without any prior discussions with the minority members of the Parliament -  the opposition coalition said that making such major decisions without a say from the minority is against the fundamentals of democracy.

“We note that the extraordinary sitting out of session has been called for without any prior discussions with the minority – at a time a lot of parliamentarians are out of Male’ City, subsequent to which they will not have the opportunity to take part in the sitting,” the statement read.

The opposition coalition said the influence of the government on independent institutions is extremely evident by MDP’s action.

They added that dismissing all ACC members is making the institution powerless – and also proof that the government is disrespectful towards the fundamentals of democracy.

Therefore, the statement read that the parliamentarians belonging to the opposition coalition are boycotting the extraordinary sitting.

As per the Parliament’s regulation, if it has been decided to initiate the process of the dismissal of members of an independent institution – the matter first needs to be sent to the Parliament’s chair. The dismissal process can be acted on after the chair announces the matter during a sitting.

Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee voted to initiate the process of dismissing all ACC members last week.

The committee had decided in November that they would recommend the dismissal of members found to be underperforming following their review. 

The committee had based its decision on the findings of a performance audit, which uncovered the commission had over 16,000 pending cases.