MP alleges president holding Anti-Defection bill to ‘Buy’ loyalties

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President Muizzu is being accused of holding onto the anti-defection bill without signing it, and Maafannu Hulhangu MP Mohamed Falah says it’s because he wants to “buy” MPs. The bill got passed on April 1 with 33 votes in favor. The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Democrats supported it.

As per the Constitution, the President needs to decide whether to approve a bill or send it back to Parliament within 15 days of receiving it. Speaking on a TV show called Adhadhu’s Debates, Falah mentioned that people are worried about MPs switching parties after elections. He hoped MDP would win a majority in the upcoming elections, but he also feared the government might try to sway MDP MPs.

Falaah highlighted that when the government took over, they had about 60 MPs, but suddenly around 13 of them joined the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC). He strongly implied that this was due to bribery. He mentioned even some experienced MPs were lured away.

The anti-defection act is part of MDP’s agenda for the current Parliament session. It lays out rules for disqualifying MPs. According to Article 3 of the bill, if an MP elected from a party decides to leave or join another party, they would have to resign. MPs could contest this decision in court within seven days. If the court sides against the MP and informs Parliament through the Election Commission (EC), the MP would have to resign.

This bill aims to prevent MPs from switching parties after elections. Its delay by the President is seen by some as an attempt to manipulate MPs’ loyalties through potential offers or incentives.