Sitting concludes after no-confidence motions dropped

Speaker of Parliament, former President Mohamed Nasheed presides over a parliamentary sitting. (Photo/People's Majilis)

The parliamentary sitting on Monday concluded in under two hours, after many of the MPs who signed no-confidence motions against Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla withdrew their signatures.

The no-confidence motions against the top parliamentary officials were submitted by the main ruling MDP in June. The motion against Nasheed was submitted with the endorsement of 54 MPs, and the motion against Eva, with the endorsement of 50.

At the start of Monday’s sitting, Nasheed announced that though 25 MPs had withdrawn their signatures, the minimum requirement 22 signatures remained intact, and that the motions can therefore be heard, if eight more MPs do not withdraw their names.

He stepped down, and asked Vilufushi MP Hassan Afeef to take over, and continue with the motions.

The MDP parliamentary group requested a small recess to discuss the matter.

After recess, Afeef announced that more MDP MPs had withdrawn their names, and that the motions therefore cannot be processed.

“As of now, the number of MPs who continue to endorse the no-confidence motion against the speaker is 21, and the number of MPs who continue to endorse the no-confidence motion against Eva is 17. As we cannot proceed with the aforementioned motions, I hereby conclude this sitting,” he said.

MDP’s top parliamentarian, North Hithadhoo MP Mohamed Aslam told Sun on Sunday night that the party’s parliamentary group had decided to withdraw the no-confidence motions “for the greater good.”

Aslam said the party was withdrawing the motions “to avoid further turmoil within the Parliament, given the current political climate, and the fact that the country’s in the middle of an election.”

Following the clashes within the MDP, which holds a supermajority at the Parliament, MPs loyal to Nasheed had left the party.

The changes to the Parliament’s composition with the move created a deadlock during the last weeks of the second session.

But the Parliament re-convened for extraordinary sittings during recess, and made changes to the composition of the permanent committees, to reflect the overall composition change.

The Parliament’s composition changed again, when the MPs who left MDP signed for a new party, the Democrats.

After that, the Parliament was plagued by lack of quorum, with many of the MPs busy in campaigns for the presidential election.

The Parliament decided last week to postpone further sittings, until after the election.