Govt lodges SCourt case over revision of rules to enable opposition to impeach president

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu speaks at the official ceremony held at Dharubaaruge to mark National Unity Day 2023 on December 26, 2023. (Photo/President's Office)

The Attorney General’s Office has filed a case with the Supreme Court over the recent amendment to the Parliament’s standing orders which enables opposition lawmakers to impeach the president.

Seven lawmakers resigned from the Parliament in November, to assume top positions in President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s administration. But the Elections Commission decided against holding by-elections as the parliamentary elections are scheduled for this year.

Taking advantage of the situation, the main opposition MDP – which holds a majority in the Parliament – amended the Parliament’s standing orders so that vacated seats aren’t counted when determining the total number of MPs.

Therefore, the Parliament currently requires 54 votes to impeach President Muizzu, instead of the previous 58, as according to the amendment to the standing orders, the total number of MPs is now 80, instead of 87.

Last week, the MDP and opposition Democratics announced an alliance to work together in the Parliament ‘to hold the government accountable.”

The MDP and Democrats, have 56 MPs between them; 43 MPs from MDP, and 13 from Democrats.

They therefore have the power to impeach the president, if they wish.

Attorney General Ahmed Usham told Sun on Tuesday afternoon that his office filed the case with the Supreme Court on Sunday. But the court has yet to register the case.

On Monday, a lawmaker from MDP confirmed the party had gathered enough signatures to file an impeachment motion. But it has yet to submit it.

Also on Monday, the Parliament denied approval to three members of President Muizzu’s cabinet; Usham, and Housing Minister Dr. Ali Haidar Ahmed, and Islamic Minister Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed. It came after the MDP passed a three-line red whip the day before to reject the three ministers, as well as Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed. Saeed narrowly survived the vote.

But within hours of the vote, Usham, Haidar and Shaheem were reappointed to the cabinet, and took their oath before Justice Husnu Al Suood.