Parliamentary speaker survives no confidence vote after opposition walkout

PPM PG leader Ahmed Nihan (L) takes celebratory selfie of PPM lawmakers after halting motion of no confidence against parliamentary speaker Abdulla Maseeh. PHOTO/TWITTER

PPM PG leader Ahmed Nihan (L) takes celebratory selfie of PPM lawmakers after halting motion of no confidence against parliamentary speaker Abdulla Maseeh. PHOTO/TWITTER

The no motion of no confidence against parliamentary speaker Abdulla Maseeh failed Monday in the absence of opposition lawmakers while 48 government aligned parliamentarians voted in favour of keeping Maseeh in position.

Tensions had peaked between government and opposition lawmakers during the debate 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 instead. The suggestion 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, forcing the acting chair to put the session on hold multiple times until MP Manik finally listed 13 opposition lawmakers to be removed from the chamber for misconduct and violating parliamentary procedures. 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, garnering 48 members in favour of keeping Maseeh in post.

Lawmakers of the opposition coalition held a joint press conference after the session where they declared that the roll call vote was illegal and invalid, and vowed to lobby the motion of no confidence against Speaker Maseeh again.

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