Nasheed seeks to convene MDP congress to decide date for referendum on govt. system

Speaker of Parliament, former President Mohamed Nasheed on an episode of 'Ask Speaker'. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed has announced his decision to convene an extraordinary congress of the MDP in order to gain support to hold a constitutional referendum to decide on the government system, and for an amendment to the Constitution to allow winners of presidential elections to be decided without a second round of voting. 

The MDP leader has shared his intention of proposing multiple amendments during the MDP council meeting scheduled for Thursday evening with council members. 

Sharing the amendments on a WhatsApp group of MDP council members, Nasheed said the Constitution should have been amended much sooner. 

Nasheed said he planned on proposing to hold an MDP congress in June in order to make the changes. 

Nasheed’s proposals: 

  • Passing necessary amendments to the number of independent institutions and their composition, especially the amendments necessary to the composition of Judicial Services Commission (JSC). 
  • Declaring the number of Supreme Court justices on the Constitution. 
  • Passing to amend the Constitution to declare the candidate who wins over 30 percent of votes as winner of presidential elections, and declare that in circumstances where no candidate wins 30 percent of votes, a second round of voting will be held between the two candidates who won the greatest number of votes and the candidate who wins the greatest number of votes will be declared winner. 
  • Amend the Constitution to declare more principles of decentralization. 
  • Convening a congress to pass holding a referendum to decide on a system of government, the date for the referendum, and to amend the Constitution to declare the system of government in accordance with the result of the referendum. 

The Constitution currently declares the presidential system as the system of government in Maldives – as was decided in a referendum held in 2007. 

However, Nasheed has always advocated for a parliamentary system of government in Maldives. 

The Constitution currently dictates that the victor of presidential elections must win at least 51 percent of votes. If no candidate wins 51 percent, the election will go to a second round of voting. No political party has come to power without going to a second round of voting and forming a coalition in recent history. 

Nasheed said on Thursday that he believes the primary for presidential elections should be held after holding a congress to decide on amendments to the Constitution, and after holding a referendum on the type of government system decided by the congress. 

“I believe it would be wise to finish the affairs of the congress and hold the presidential primary in October 2022,” he said. 

The MDP national council meeting is scheduled to be held at Iskandhar School. Additional items in the agenda for the meeting includes a decision on the vote to decide the party’s presidential candidate.