US raise concerns over Maldives’ parliament speaker vote

Lawmakers pictured outside the parliament ahead of a debate. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Lawmakers pictured outside the parliament ahead of a debate. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

The United States raised concerns Tuesday over policy violations in the parliament vote on the motion of no confidence against parliamentary speaker Abdulla Maseeh.

In a statement, the US Embassy to Sri Lanka and Maldives stated that the voting procedures demonstrated in Monday’s parliament session obstruct fair and independent votes.

The world power called on the government of the Maldives to maintain democratic policies by ensuring unbiased and independent proceedings in parliament and other elections.

The US also urged the Maldives to ensure freedom of speech, media and gathering.

The motion of no confidence against Speaker Maseeh was put to vote via a roll call instead of electronic voting due to alleged defects in the electronic voting portals. The opposition had objected to the roll call vote saying that it violates parliamentary regulations. Following the opposition’s protests and discord on the parliament floor, 13 opposition lawmakers were forcibly removed from the chamber by military security, which prompted the remaining 21 opposition members to boycott the vote.

Hence, the vote on the motion of no confidence against the speaker was cast only among government lawmakers via roll call. Speaker Maseeh was voted in favour of holding his post with 48 votes.

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