President ratifies Anti-Defection Bill

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu ratifies the Anti-Defection Bill -- Photo/ President's Office

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu on Tuesday, has ratified Act No: 3/2024, or the Anti-Defection Bill.

The act grants legal enforcement for lawmakers to lose their parliament seats upon floor crossing.

The bill for the act was proposed by Baarah constituency MP Ahmed Abdulla, who represents parliament's majority, MDP. The bill was approved at the parliament earlier on April 01st, 2024.

President's Office on Tuesday confirmed Dr. Muizzu has now officially ratified the act into active implementation.

The new law governs parliament MPs, atoll and island councilers, members of Women's Development Committees as well; all of whom would be required to resign from their political positions should they switch their political parties.

According to MDP, the bill was proposed to ensure the lawmakers and other political designates remain affiliated to the political ideologies due to which they were elected by the constituents. 

As per the newly ratified law, political designates including parliament MPs and councilers should resign under two distinct circumstances, which are;

  • Voluntary resignation from the political party through which the member was elected for the political designation
  • Registering on a different party [switching parties]

Besides this, the law also specifies two situations where a recall vote is mandatory, which include;

  • Dismissal or removal from the party from which the member was elected for the designation
  • Independent members signing for political parties

Under the Anti-Defection Bill, councilors and members of WDCs would lose their seats, if they;

  • Resign from the parties through which they were elected
  • Switching political parties, and if
  • Independent members sign for political parties

According to the law, if a member wins the recall vote, they can switch their parties, but would lose their position if they do not receive adequate recall votes.

For the seats vacated owing to defection or floor crossing, the Elections Commission (EC) is mandated with holding by-elections to elect new members as per the law, and the members who lose their seats have the right to contend as well.

During the 18th parliamentary assembly, an Anti-Defection Act was passed as well, but during the 2018 political turmoil, the same assembly annulled the law.

After the most recent presidential election, 14 members previously aligned with MDP exited the party following which the parliament majority party stressed the importance of an anti-defection law.