MDP files constitutional case to halt parliamentary work over speaker’s no-confidence motion

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The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has taken a significant legal step by filing a constitutional case with the Supreme Court. Their aim is to halt all parliamentary proceedings until the pending no-confidence motion against Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed is allowed to move forward.

The motion of no-confidence against Nasheed was put forth by the MDP, supported by 49 signatures, and it was originally scheduled for discussion during Sunday’s parliamentary session. However, the session was postponed due to the absence of Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla, who was unwell.

In response to this situation, the MDP has approached the Supreme Court with two key requests:

First, in the event that the Deputy Speaker cannot participate in the parliamentary session concerning the motion of no-confidence against the Speaker, they seek an interpretation of the law in accordance with Article 44 of the Parliament Regulations.

Secondly, the MDP is requesting the Supreme Court to issue an order to halt all parliamentary activities until a decision is reached regarding the no-confidence motion against the Speaker.

A member of the MDP’s legal team, Hussain Afeef, a former Legal Counsel at the President’s Office, addressed the media during a press conference held on Sunday. Afeef argued that the Parliament Secretary General’s decision to require the Deputy Speaker’s presence contradicts both the Parliament Regulations and the Constitution. The party has thus turned to the Supreme Court to ensure a proper interpretation of the laws.

The MDP’s legal team contends that the Secretary General’s decision runs afoul of Article 82 of the Constitution and Article 44 of the Parliament Regulations. According to Article 44, if neither the Speaker nor the Deputy Speaker can preside over a session, the five longest-serving parliamentarians are eligible to take on that role. The MDP’s legal team believes that, under these circumstances, the motion against Nasheed should have been allowed to proceed.

Afeef expressed that the laws were not intended to bring parliamentary activities to a standstill under any circumstances. He noted that Article 205 (d) of the Parliament Regulations specifies that parliamentary work cannot continue if a no-confidence motion against the Speaker is pending.

According to Afeef, this means that no parliamentary business can proceed until a decision is reached on the pending no-confidence motion against the Speaker.

The presidential inauguration ceremony is scheduled for November 17, and Afeef hopes that the Supreme Court will resolve the matter before that date. The MDP’s legal team insists that the ceremony cannot go forward until the no-confidence issue is resolved.