The leadership of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) harshly responded late Sunday to rumours of the Supreme Court allegedly preparing to issue an order to impeach President Abdulla Yameen.
Speaking at a ruling party rally, PPM’s parliamentary group leader and Villimale MP Ahmed Nihan proclaimed that an attempt to impeach a democratically elected president, whose regime is recognized and accepted by the people, would be a “declaration of war on the Maldives”. Such an act, whether domestic or not, would never be accepted by Maldivians, he said.
Nihan went on to say that while the police and military would naturally join forces to defend the nation, the people themselves would take the initiative to march ahead as the first line of defence against such deplorable acts.
The PG leader added that President Yameen would not be cowed into resigning “even if shot at”, and that Yameen would dutifully carry out the responsibilities handed by the people.
At the heated rally, PPM’s spokesperson and Kelaa MP Ali Arif also took to the podium to slate the five judges of the Supreme Court, declaring that they do not hold the power to depose the president. He noted that only the parliament has the jurisdiction to pass a motion to impeach the country’s leader, as per the Maldivian Constitution.
Arif further stated that the Constitution hands the president the authority to oversee and ensure that state institutions, including the security forces, implement and enforce their constitutional mandates.
“[The justices of the Supreme Court] are not the leaders of the nation; the leader is the president elected by the people. Do not address him with such uncouth words,” he warned.
The Supreme Court judges were also highly censured by PPM’s deputy leader and Fonadhoo MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla, who said that the top court cannot seize and hoard a power that does not belong to them.
“Impeaching the president is not a power accorded to the Supreme Court. To force a power you do not own is to violate the Constitution.”
Abdul Raheem also urged against acting on one’s own agendas and intimidating the people to get results. He alleged that the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling last Thursday night, which ordered the release of prominent political prisoners, was connected to “some coup”.
The deputy leader further reiterated that no organ of the government had said that it would not execute the Supreme Court’s order.
PPM’s heated speeches came after Attorney General Mohamed Anil revealed Sunday that there were rumours that the apex court would order the president’s impeachment. Anil had said that such an order would be unconstitutional and that he had advised all the security forces to not comply with any rulings of the sort.
The rumours arose after the Supreme Court, in an unforeseen turn of events, issued a ruling late Thursday, ordering the immediate release of nine political leaders, reinstated 12 suspended lawmakers, and lifted its previous ban on floor-crossing.
While the opposition and international bodies have called on the government to enforce the order unconditionally, the state continues to hesitate, saying that there were many legal concerns to overcome. The attorney general and prosecutor general have submitted their concerns and questions to the Supreme Court, while the enraged opposition have filed a motion of no confidence against them, including two ministers, at the parliament.
Despite the high political tensions, the ruling coalition maintains that it would remain steadfast while the joint opposition declared that the current administration would soon fall.