MDP threatens to deny support to more ministers if vote disrupted

Combined file photos of (from L-R) Home Minister Ali Ihusan and Defense Minister Ghassan Maumoon.

The main opposition MDP has decided it will withhold support to additional government ministers if pro-government lawmakers disrupt Monday’s parliamentary sitting.

President Muizzu made a formal request for the approval of his cabinet on November 20, two days after the new administration took office.

The Parliament had been scheduled to vote on the cabinet on December 18, but the original report by the Government Oversight Committee was rejected. The Parliament held an extraordinary sitting on Sunday to take the vote on the committee’s new report, which it passed on December 30. But the Parliament was unable to hold the vote, after clashes broke out between pro-government and opposition lawmakers.

At a parliamentary group meeting on Monday afternoon – the MDP – which holds a majority in the Parliament – decided it will deny approval to Ali Ihusan, the home minister, and Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon, the defense minister, if government lawmakers continue to disrupt the Parliament.

The latest decision comes a day after the MDP issued a three-line red whip to withhold support to four government ministers.

They are:

  • Ahmed Usham, attorney general
  • Mohamed Saeed, economic minister
  • Dr. Ali Haidar, housing minister
  • Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, Islamic minister

Meanwhile, the Democrats, which announced an alliance with MDP last week, decided they will not approve three of the ministers. But instead of Shaheem, they decided they will withhold support to Moosa Zameer, the foreign minister.

The move sparked anger from the ruling PPM-PNC lawmakers, with verbal exchanges between government and opposition lawmakers escalating into physical violence.

The threat by MDP to deny approve to additional government ministers came just before the Parliament was scheduled to hold a sitting to hold the postponed vote.