For the past two weeks, the Parliament of the Maldives has been going back and forth regarding the no-confidence motion that was filed against Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed. Due to the legalities of the case, the vice-speaker of the Parliament is required to be in the sitting to carry out the no-confidence motion, however, due to alleged illness the vice-speaker has been unable to attend sittings for the past few Parliament sessions.
With this, things have been getting heated up in the Parliament, leading to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) lodging a case at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of the laws and an order that sittings can be continued even without the Deputy Speaker. The delay in these sittings has caused major problems, as other matters have also been getting delayed along with the no-confidence motion, leaving the Parliament going back and forth during every sitting lately discussing the no-confidence motion that has yet not taken place.
Following MDP lodging the case at the Supreme Court to carry out the motion without the sitting of the Deputy Speaker, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has opposed to the Parliament’s decision during the court hearing. At the court sitting the AGO Council General Fathimath Haleem made it clear that the decision taken by the Parliament Secretariat to not conduct sittings due to the absence of the Deputy Speaker is wrongful.
Just a few days ago, things got heated up around this matter as the State budget could not be passed due to the ongoing issues within the Parliament. During this time period, the AGO advised against the Government’s decision which was prioritising the state budget passing over the no-confidence motion which was still pending in the Parliament when the budget discussion came into the picture.
With this advice the Finance Minister also failed to show up to present the budget for the coming year, leading to another pending task in the Parliament that continues to delay due to the no-confidence motion issue.
With this, the AGO argues that neither the Constitution nor the Parliament Regulations stipulate a specific person to preside over such sittings. Furthermore, the AGO emphasized that the delay in deciding on the no-confidence motion could hamper other parliamentary work, underlining the importance of expediting the matter.
In the end, the AGO has appealed to the bench to consider the option of allowing one of the five longest-serving Parliament members to preside over the no-confidence motion meeting if the Deputy speaker is still unable to attend the sitting. Now, everyone is yet again waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision on this matter.