State: No obstruction to take oath despite the no-confidence motion pending

President-Elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu meeting the Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed on October 3, 2023. (Photo/Majlis)

The state, at the Supreme Court, on Monday, said there the no-confidence motion of the Speaker Mohamed Nasheed pending at the parliament does not pose any obstruction for President Elect Dr. Mohamed Muizzu to take oath.

Hearings in the case submitted by ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to Supreme Court following Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla, Nasheed’s cousin and fellow Democrats’ members, disinclination to preside over the sitting.

At the hearing, Justice Husnu Al Suood inquired from Attorney General’s Office (AG Office) Counsel General Fathimath Haleem whether the motion posed any obstructions for President Elect Muizzu to take oath.

The question was posed as both MDP and the state, making their case, underscored that the parliament’s regulations dictated that in circumstances a no-confidence motion against the speaker has been filed, any parliamentary debate or decision-making can only take place at the parliament after reaching a decision on the no-confidence motion.

It is the parliament that takes up the arrangements for Muizzu’s inauguration ceremony.

In response, Fathimath Haleem said despite works at the parliament coming to a halt, there is no obstruction for Muizzu to take oath. However, she stressed that the pending no-confidence motion can hinder the appointment of the president elect’s cabinet.

She explained that this was a result of the section of the parliament’s regulation in question specifying two specific tasks; neither under which the president-elect’s inauguration falls under. In this regard, the two tasks that the parliament cannot undertake with a no-confidence motion against the speaker pending, as per the regulation, are debate and decision-making with respect to any other matters.

Fathimath Haleem, underscoring that the Maldivian Constitution’s Article 87 details the extent of the decision-making capacity of the parliament, said the inauguration of the president elect is not specified as such.

Speaking further, Fathimath Haleem, noting that debate is the other task barred by the parliament’s regulation when a no-confidence motion against the speaker is pending, said debate is carried out on motions or resolutions, adding that the president elect’s inauguration ceremony was not linked to any such motion or resolution as per the law.

She stressed that there was no obstruction for Muizzu to take even if the laws and regulations are interpreted literally.

Nasheed’s motion was initially scheduled for last week’s last Sunday. However, the sitting was cancelled subsequent to Eva, Nasheed’s cousin and fellow Democrats member, calling in sick.

The no-confidence motion was on the agenda for all days except Tuesday of last week; none of which panned out as Eva had called in sick for all of them.

The sitting on the no-confidence motion was scheduled for a fifth time on Sunday morning. However, Eva recused from presiding over the sitting in light of the Supreme Court case last week, and also called in sick on Sunday.

Parliament Secretariate subsequently announced they will not be slating sittings on Nasheed’s motion pending the outcome of the Supreme Court case.