Parliamentary Speaker Mohamed Nasheed pushing for a parliamentary system

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MDP leader and Parliamentary Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed has always advocated for the implementation of parliamentary system of governance. In his recent address after MDP won the Komandoo by-elections he stated that it was important for the system to change if MDP is to remain in power. He noted this saying that the party secured less than 50% of the votes.

He said that MDP cannot remain in power unless Maldives switches from a presidential to parliamentary system of governance. On an episode of ‘Ask Speaker,’ Nasheed announced that he was trying to assemble a congress of the MDP in order to gain support to hold a constitutional poll for the switch of government ahead of the Presidential elections and also for amendments in the constitution that will allow winners of Presidential elections to be decided without a second voting.

Nasheed proposed number of amendments during the MDP council meeting. His proposed changes to the constitutions included:

  • Passing necessary amendments to the number of independent institutions and their composition, especially the amendments necessary to the composition of Judicial Services Commission (JSC). 
  • Decision to determine the number of Supreme Court judges in the Constitution.
  • Constitution to declare the candidate who wins over 30 percent of votes as winner of presidential elections. In circumstances where no candidate wins 30 percent of votes, a second round of voting will be held between the two candidates and who wins the greatest number of votes will be declared winner. 
  • Establish additional decentralized rules.
  • Assembling a congress to pass holding a referendum to decide on a system of government. The date on which the vote will be taken and the results of the vote.

The Constitution currently follows the presidential system as the system of government in Maldives. This dictates that the winner of the presidential elections must win at least 51 percent of votes. If no candidate wins 51 percent, the election will go to a second round of voting.

After a democracy was established in Maldives, no political party has been able to come to power without having to contest for a second round of voting or without forming a coalition. Relating to the past elections when he lost to former President Yameen where coalitions in support changed sides during the second voting. One of the main reasons why the switch in the system is needed so that transparency and free electoral process can be maintained.

Nasheed believes that the primary for presidential elections should be held after holding a congress to decide on amendments to the Constitution. “I believe it would be wise to finish the affairs of the congress and hold the presidential primary in October 2022,” he said.

The other agenda for the MDP council meeting also includes the decision to vote the party’s presidential candidate for the upcoming election.