Ilyas: It is the best time to hold a referendum

Hulhudhoo MP Ilyas Labeeb. (File Photo/People's Majlis)

The Democrats' presidential candidate and Hulhudhoo Constituency MP Ilyas Labeeb, on Tuesday, described the present as the best time to hold a constitutional referendum on changing the governance system from a presidential to a parliamentary system.

MPs from The Democrats have spoken again about changing the governance system of the Maldives during Tuesday's parliamentary debate on the constitution of the parliament's standing committee. 

Ilyas stressed that every presidential election in Maldives, is a vote to remove someone from power. He pointed out that some people are jailed for political purposes in conjunction with every election, while the supporters will next undertake efforts to free them. 

“When it comes to voting for elections, instead of voting for what the people need, it is more likely for people to vote for another purpose,” Ilyas said.

He stressed that it was the perfect timing to go for a referendum to change the system. He reasoned that while Maldives follows a presidential system, some works of the parliament are carried out the way it is in parliamentary systems.

“It is important to take a referendum at this moment. Moving forward in the way that the people is the best way for the future of the whole country,” he said.

Vilufushi MP Hassan Afeef. (Photo/People's Majlis)

MP Hassan Afeef from the Democrats also spoke about the system of government in Maldives. Afeef said they now believe that this is a presidential system and therefore the affairs of parliament should be conducted in a presidential system.

"I am saying in a presidential system, the bills should be prepared by the parliament, instead of the government. So I ask the parliament to enforce this,” Afeef said.

Afeef, looking at how things are currently done, said he does not like the current system.

The differences within MDP, which has a supermajority in parliament, first emerged after differences over the system between former President Mohamed Nasheed and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. After that, Nasheed lost the MDP primary elections and he, not accepting defeat, and his supporters left the party and formed The Democrats.

Nasheed and his supporters have always advocated changing the current system to a parliamentary one.

Maldives adopted a presidential system in 2007 after a referendum. The people voted to uphold the presidential system in Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s administration.