The opposition coalition on Monday declared that the motion of no confidence against parliamentary speaker Abdulla Maseeh was taken in violation of constitutional laws and vowed to submit the no confidence vote against the speaker again.
The motion of no confidence against Speaker Maseeh failed with 48 government lawmakers voting in favour of keeping him in position in the absence of opposition lawmakers. Tensions had peaked between government and opposition lawmakers over alleged defects in the parliament’s electronic voting systems with both sides accusing the other of tampering with the voting portals prior to the session.
Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan had suggested a roll call vote which was ultimately approved with votes via the same problematical electronic system despite the opposition’s objections. The row had worsened when the system showed that Deputy Speaker Moosa Manik, who was chairing the session, and Galolhu South MP Ahmed Mahloof, who is currently serving a jail sentence, both had votes cast in their names.
The opposition had raised their voices and incited discord on the parliament floor until MP Manik finally listed 13 opposition lawmakers to be removed from the chamber for misconduct. The remaining opposition members had also walked out and the vote on the motion of no confidence against Speaker Maseeh was cast among pro-government lawmakers via roll call.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih stated that Monday session’s vote violated constitutional laws and democratic policies. He remarked that the vote also indicated the lacking trustworthiness of members aligned with the government.
“This is not the end, but a beginning. [All members of the opposition coalition] will very soon again submit and win the no confidence motion against the speaker,” said the lawmaker of Hinnavaru constituency.
MP Ibrahim Solih added that the opposition will henceforth work as a joint parliamentary group.
Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s son, Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon who spearheaded the no confidence vote against the speaker, echoed MP Ibrahim Solih that the roll call vote was neither in line with the Constitution nor an independent vote. Proclaiming that the opposition does not view the results as a failure, he remarked that opting for a roll call vote indicates that the government has lost the parliament majority.
Jumhoory Party’s leader Qasim Ibrahim also commented that using the electronic voting system with alleged defects to pass the roll call vote itself suggested that the e-voting portals were in perfect condition. He added that he has always advocated for secret votes in impeachment cases to avoid intimidation and coercion of lawmakers.