Ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s Parliamentary Group, on Monday night, decided to nominate the party’s Parliamentary Group Leader, North Hithadhoo MP Mohamed Aslam for the vacant post of parliament’s speaker following the resignation of Mohamed Nasheed this evening.
Following Nasheed’s resignation this evening, parliament secretariate scheduled a sitting for 10:00pm tonight, with the election of a new speaker solely on the agenda.
The parliamentary group of MDP, which holds the majority in the parliament, held a meeting tonight to decide who they will nominate on behalf of the party as the speaker. Two lawmakers expressed interest in the post in the meeting: Aslam and Hoarafushi MP Ahmed Saleem.
The parliamentary group decided to nominate Aslam.
The Parliament had been scheduled to hear the motion at 11:00 am on Monday, but lawmakers from both the MDP and Democrats disrupted the sitting. Democrats expressed concern over the delay in budget work, while MDP lawmakers demanded that Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla, Nasheed’s cousin and fellow Democrats member, step down from chairing the sitting.
Eva adjourned the sitting, citing a state of disorder.
But the Parliament’s Secretariat rescheduled the motion again for 04:00 pm. The sitting was chaired by Addu Maradhoo MP Ibrahim Shareef – a lawmaker from MDP.
Shareef announced that Nasheed had sent a letter to the Parliament’s Secretary General Fathimath Niusha, informing of his resignation.
In the letter, Nasheed wrote that he was resigning following consideration of the impact the motion could have on the democratic process. He accused MDP of threatening fundamental democratic principles.
The MDP had originally submitted no-confidence motions against both Nasheed and Eva earlier this year. The motion against Eva was submitted with the endorsement of 50 MPs in May, and the motion against Nasheed followed, with the endorsement of 54 MPs, in June.
But the MDP withdrew the motions in September, while the party was engaged in negotiations with the Democrats – the party to which both Nasheed and Eva belong – for the presidential runoff election.
The party resubmitted a no-confidence motion against Nasheed in October with the signatures of 49 MPs.
After the no-confidence motion remained stymied - MDP lodged a constitutional case with the Supreme Court, which last week found the Secretariat’s decision to halt the motion unconstitutional.
Nasheed also slammed Supreme Court in his resignation letter.
In this regard, he said Supreme Court, with respect to the case filed by MDP, had described the court intervening in the internal matters of the parliament as something which will only be done in extenuating circumstances to avoid the judgments of the court being politicized and political issues being considered as legal matters which will be deliberated by the court.
“Nevertheless, I am disheartened that the Supreme Court’s actions and words do not meet with respect to this matter,” he added.
He also said MDP, which holds the parliament’s majority, taking this road was extremely disheartening, describing it as a betrayal to the Maldivian people.
“As I see it, the damage to the parliament from the majority party will keep increasing if I were to continue as the speaker any further. Hence, I resign from my post,” the letter read.
Nasheed expressed hope that his resignation will aid in restoring stability and integrity within the democratic system.
Supreme Court, in the case filed by MDP, ruled the parliament’s sittings had been halted unconstitutionally and the no-confidence motion could proceed in Eva’s absence.
Following the ruling, Nasheed had hinted at continuing efforts to thwart the motion, even letting the motion to remain stalled till the inauguration of President-Elect Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.