Opposition MPs vow not to back down despite challenges

Police officers obstruct lawmakers from entering parliament grounds. PHOTO/MIHAARU

Police officers obstruct lawmakers from entering parliament grounds. PHOTO/MIHAARU

Following the police’s announcement that they are pursuing the trespassing cases of 12 parliamentarians, the joint opposition coalition on Monday vowed to stay united despite the many challenges they face because of the government.

Speaking at a press conference held at opposition Jumhoory Party (JP)’s main party hub ‘Kunooz’, the opposition coalition’s spokesperson Galolhu-South MP Ahmed Mahloof alleged that President Abdulla Yameen’s strategy to regain the ruling party’s lost majority in the parliament is to intimidate the parliamentarians by using the police force.

MP Mahloof said that “even if 20 opposition members get shot and killed”, the government will not be able to win back the majority they enjoyed at the beginning of the presidential term.

Further, he said that the president has assured, through government actions, that the ruling party will not be able to secure a “43-vote majority” in any future parliament sittings.

“The opposition has a stronger hold in the parliament now – we have a lot more opposition-aligned members. Intimidation [of parliamentarians] will not result in a favourable outcome for the government,” the MP said.

“We will not back down. Even if the 12 MPs get prosecuted, the rest of us have no intentions of backing down.”

The Prosecutor General’s Office (PG) on Monday confirmed that the police have officially filed trespassing cases of 12 opposition MPs for prosecution.

On July 24, 2017, in a protest that broke out following the opposition’s attempt to impeach the parliament’s speaker Abdulla Maseeh for the third time, nine MPs were taken in to custody during heated protests outside the parliament. Some MPs were charged with trespassing after they attempted to enter the parliament despite the heavy army presence barring them from entering; however they were released soon after.

Three MPs, whose memberships were revoked by the Elections Commission, are also being charged with trespassing, the PG office revealed on Monday.

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