The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on Monday voiced concerns over the political turmoil in the Maldives and called on the archipelago to respect the integrity of Parliament.
In a tweet, IPU declared that the union is “concerned about the worsening political situation in Maldives & calls for respect of Majlis’s integrity.”
IPU’s remark comes in the wake of a long stand-off between lawmakers and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and Police on Monday, after the latter obstructed lawmakers from entering the parliament chambers.
MNDF locked the gates to the parliament building early Monday, barring everyone from entering except staff of the parliament administration. The lockup is believed to have been imposed after opposition lawmakers declared earlier that they would enter the chambers despite the cancellation of Monday’s session. The sitting originally scheduled for Monday morning was to debate the resolution submitted by the opposition regarding a motion of no confidence against the parliament speaker. However, after the Elections Commission stated that four of the lawmakers that signed the resolution have lost their seats, the resolution was quashed over lacking the required amount of 42 signatures.
However, the opposition coalition has declared that a resolution previously signed by 45 members cannot be cancelled. Opposition lawmakers also proclaimed that as the Supreme Court has the final say on lawmakers that lose their seats, other entities cannot impede the ousted lawmakers until the top court’s verdict. Thus, the lawmakers were adamant on holding a parliament sitting on Monday.
While MNDF and Police guarded the gates and held off lawmakers and other public citizens that gathered in the area, opposition lawmakers eventually forced past police barricades and entered the parliament building, some scaling the walls of the parliament grounds.
MNDF and Police SO officers followed soon to forcibly remove the lawmakers from the parliament chambers, ordering the administration staff to leave as well. The forced entry and subsequent removal of lawmakers resulted in various injuries to lawmakers.
Among the lawmakers that forcefully entered the parliament were Thulusdhoo MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim and Maduvvari MP Mohamed Ameeth, who have lost their seats according to the Elections Commission. The two lawmakers were arrested for entering the building as well as breaking police lines and barricades. However, they were later released after Police took their statements.