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Rediff.com  » News » Maldives Opposition set to impeach pro-China President Muizzu

Maldives Opposition set to impeach pro-China President Muizzu

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: January 30, 2024 01:08 IST
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The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which holds a majority in the Maldivian Parliament, on Monday said it plans to submit a motion to impeach President Mohamed Muizzu, a day after clashes broke out in the House between pro-government MPs and opposition lawmakers following differences over the approval of four members of his cabinet.

IMAGE: Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu. Photograph: Maldivian President's Office on Facebook

The development comes on a day when the President Muizzu re-appointed three members of his cabinet, who were earlier in the day denied approval during a vote in the Parliament where the MDP has the highest number of members.

On Sunday, clashes broke out in Parliament between pro-government MPs and opposition lawmakers over differences over the approval of four members of the pro-China President's cabinet.

 

Muizzu, 45, defeated India-friendly incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the presidential runoff held in September last year.

'The MDP, in partnership with the Democrats, have gathered enough signatures for an impeachment motion. However, they have yet to submit it,' Sun.com reported, quoting a lawmaker from the MDP.

The decision to submit an impeachment motion was taken unanimously in the parliamentary group meeting of the MDP held on Monday, The Edition.mv reported.

'The Constitution, along with the Parliament's standing orders, dictates that the president can be impeached with 56 votes,' the Sun.com added.

The Parliament had recently amended its standing orders to make it easier to submit an impeachment motion.

The MDP's plan to impeach President Muizzu was opposed by the government coalition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People's National Congress (PNC).

The coalition leaders said that they would not allow efforts to remove President Muizzu to proceed through parliament.

At a press conference, PPM Parliamentary Group (PG) Leader Eydhafushi constituency MP Ahmed Saleem said that the coalition would stop any efforts from MDP to remove President Muizzu from his office.

'We will not allow them any opportunities to go ahead with this. They will have to kill us all first before they can even think of removing the President from office,' Saleem was quoted as saying by The Edition.mv.

The Maldivian Parliament has a total of 80 members.

The MDP has 45, followed by its ally The Democrats (DEM) with 13 members.

Of the ruling coalition of PPM-PNC, the Progressive Party of the Maldives has 2 while the People's National Congress has 13 members. There are three independents while the Jumhooree Party and the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) have two each.

The gathering of signatures for an impeachment motion against the President comes a day after the PPM-PNC coalition, submitted no-confidence motions against Speaker Mohamed Aslam and Deputy Speaker Ahmed Saleem -- both from MDP.

Earlier in the day, Parliament voted to deny approval to Housing Minister Ali Haidar Ahmed, Islamic Minister Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, and Attorney General Ahmed Usham, while Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed narrowly survived the same fate himself, Sun.com reported.

After the MDP and The Democrats' parliamentary group decided to withhold parliamentary approval for four members of President Muizzu's cabinet ahead of the voting on Sunday, the pro-government MPs from the ruling party Progressive Party of Maldives and People's National Congress (PPM/PNC) coalition initiated a protest, obstructing the parliamentary sitting. Two MPs were injured during a brawl.

On November 20 last year President Muizzu made a formal request for the approval of his cabinet, two days after his administration took office.

The Parliament had been scheduled to vote on the cabinet on December 18, but the original report by the Government Oversight Committee was rejected. The Parliament held an extraordinary sitting on Sunday to take the vote on the committee's new report, which was passed on December 30, Sun.com reported.

But just ahead of the vote, the main opposition MDP, the largest party in the house, issued a three-line red whip to deny approval to the four cabinet members.

When it was clear that the MDP might vote against the approval of the four members of the cabinet, President's top Advisor Abdul Raheem Abdullah on Sunday itself had hinted that the government was expected to reinstate the Ministers and Attorney General Usham to their posts.

"Abdullah said that the President has the discretion to reinstate any cabinet member who is rejected by the Parliament to the same post," The Press, an independent news portal said on Monday.

Soon after taking oath as the President of Maldives on November 17, Muizzu formally requested India to withdraw 88 military personnel from his country by March 15, saying the Maldivian people have given him a "strong mandate" to make this request to New Delhi.

Earlier on January 24, calling India the 'most long-standing ally', the MDP and the Democrats had expressed concern about the Muizzu government's 'anti-India stance'.

The open support (for India) by the two parties had come a day after the Maldives government said a Chinese ship, equipped to carry research and surveys, would be docking at a Maldivian port after being permitted to make a port call for replenishment.

The permission to allow the Chinese ship had come amid strained ties between India and Maldives after President Muizzu made Beijing his first port of call early this month soon after assuming office.

Traditionally, New Delhi has been the first port of call for a Maldivian President.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
 
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