A Dark Day for Democracy in the Maldives

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In a shocking blow to democratic principles, recent events in the Maldivian Parliament have sparked concerns about the stability of the nation’s political landscape. The scheduled parliamentary session, crucial for the approval of President Muizzu’s ministerial appointments, witnessed disruptive actions by ruling party MPs, casting a shadow over the fundamental tenets of parliamentary democracy.

The session, which commenced at 9:00 am, took an unfortunate turn when government MPs obstructed proceedings, preventing a crucial voting process on the President’s ministerial appointments. Despite a scheduled break intended to rejuvenate the session, disruptions persisted, leading to the suspension of the sitting at 1:30 pm. Efforts to resume the session at 8:00 pm were in vain, exposing a concerning lack of commitment to the democratic process.

In a deeply troubling turn of events, Speaker of the Parliament, Mohamed Aslam, faced blatant disrespect when he attempted to reconvene the sitting at 10:30 pm. The microphone system was not only removed from his desk, but a livestream from Parliament’s YouTube channel captured the alarming sight of Komandoo MP Mohamed Rasheed snatching the microphone from the Speaker’s designated table. Such actions not only undermine the decorum of parliamentary proceedings but also erode the foundations of democratic governance.

Despite admonitions to adhere to Parliament’s rules of procedure, the chamber continued to be filled with disruptive noise, ultimately forcing Speaker Aslam to terminate the session at 10:57 pm. This blatant disregard for parliamentary norms not only undermines the credibility of the institution but sets a dangerous precedent for future deliberations.

The locking of the Parliament chamber doors by ruling party PPM/PNC MPs following the opposition’s decision not to approve certain ministerial appointments further adds to the gravity of the situation. The sight of government MPs wielding trumpets in the chamber, along with the audacious act of Kanditheemu MP Hussain Shaheem sitting in the Speaker’s chair, paints a grim picture of the state of affairs in the Maldivian Parliament. Such tactics not only disrupt the democratic process but also send a distressing message to the public about the maturity and integrity of their elected representatives.

The recent events in the Maldivian Parliament are indeed a cause for grave concern. The actions of ruling party MPs, coupled with the locking of doors and the disregard for parliamentary decorum, undermine the very essence of democracy. It is imperative that all political actors in the Maldives prioritize the principles of democracy, uphold the rule of law, and work towards fostering an environment where healthy debate can flourish, free from disruptions and coercion. The people of the Maldives deserve a government that respects and upholds the democratic values.