No-confidence motion defeated – as it happened

No-confidence motion defeated – as it happened
March 27 09:03 2017

Amidst heightened tension in Malé, Monday’s historic no-confidence vote against the speaker of parliament pits President Abdulla Yameen against the new opposition alliance formed between former Presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed along with Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim and Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla. 

With Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed unable to vote, Deputy Speaker ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik presiding, and Independent MP Ahmed Mahloof in jail, 42 votes will be enough to pass or defeat the motion.

For the opposition, success hinges on the number of lawmakers from the ruling Progressive Party who abandon Yameen to form a new majority in the 85-member house. 

The PPM has 48 MPs and coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance has six MPs.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party has 21 MPs, the Jumhooreee Party has seven MPs, and MP Anara Naeem is the sole Adhaalath Party lawmaker.

Of the PPM’s 48 lawmakers, four have openly sided with Gayoom, including his son MP Faris Maumoon, Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim, Mohamed Musthafa, and Mohamed Ameeth. The MDA has meanwhile decided to expel MP Hussain Areef for backing the no-confidence motion.  

The live coverage has ended. 

4:30 pm – At a press briefing by the opposition alliance, Minority Leader Solih and Gasim Ibrahim insisted that the vote was void as it was cast in breach of the parliamentary rules.

Solih said a no-confidence motion against Maseeh will be resubmitted.

MP Faris Maumoon suggested that the expected defection of the ruling party lawmakers was contingent on electronic voting, which would have allowed them to see how other MPs voted and decide based on the way the vote was going.

“Each MP is faced with different restrictions. If everyone votes together with the electronic system, it gives 30 seconds after voting to change the vote,” he said.

Faris said MPs have changed their vote within the short space of time in many cases, “especially because of the government’s influence, in every matter that settles in the government’s favour, many people want to show that they are voting [in favour] out of fear of action the government might take.”

He contended that forcing individual lawmakers to state their stance is an infringement of the MPs’ right to vote freely.

“We will make announcements soon about the next tasks and God willing you will see more members join our growing team,” he said.

4:17 pm – The no-confidence motion has been defeated with 48 votes and none against, seven votes above the simple majority required if all 83 MPs had been present and voting. All 48 MPs of the ruling PPM-MDA coalition in attendance voted to defend Maseeh.

After the 13 MPs were evicted, other opposition coalition MPs walked out.

4:03 pm – The Majlis live feed has resumed and the roll call voting is underway.

3:59 pm – The sitting is about to resume after the removal of 13 MPs.

3:49 pm – Police officers are raiding the MDP’s office with a court warrant and confiscating speakers and sound systems. The court order states that the party is disrupting public order and planning to stage a protest in areas where gatherings are prohibited.

The carnival area in Malé is the only area where protests are now allowed.

3:37 pm – A live Facebook feed from MP Nihan shows female MPs Eva Abdulla and Mariya Ahmed Didi dragged out by two women in plain clothes.

3:33 pm – PPM MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim, MDA MP Hussain Areef and MDP MP Abdul Ghafoor Moosa have also been removed.

Wakeel waddey majlis in nerun

Posted by Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik on Monday, 27 March 2017

Posted by Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik on Monday, 27 March 2017

3:30 pm – MDP MPs Ali Azim, Ali Nizar, Mohamed Rasheed Hussain, Mohamed Abdul Kareem, Imthiyaz Fahmy, Mohamed Falah, Fayyaz Ismail and Mohamed Nazim have been forcibly taken out of the chamber.

3:26 pm – More videos from Majority Leader Nihan of opposition MPs being dragged out of the chamber by soldiers.

Posted by Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik on Monday, 27 March 2017

Posted by Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik on Monday, 27 March 2017

 

3:20 pm – Security personnel are forcibly evicting MPs whose names were called by the deputy speaker.

The live feed has been cut off for private TV stations. Journalists and members of the public were barred from observing proceedings from the gallery.

Nan ivvaafa beyru kurun

Posted by Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik on Monday, 27 March 2017

Nizar beyrukurn

Posted by Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik on Monday, 27 March 2017

Posted by Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik on Monday, 27 March 2017

3:09 pm – Riot police are back to disperse opposition supporters outside the MDP office.

3:00 pm – According to Nihan, the deputy speaker has asked Majlis security to evict 13 MPs for disorderly conduct.

2:59 pm – About 100 opposition supporters have gathered again outside the MDP office. The protesters remain on the pavements. The police have left the area after a previous attempt to disperse the crowd.

SO police officers earlier used pepper spray against several protesters.

2:51 pm – The deputy speaker has reportedly adjourned the sitting again after failing to call the vote despite the presence of security personnel. But several MPs from both sides remain inside the chamber.

2:32 pm – According to MP Nihan, the deputy speaker has asked security personnel to evict MDP MPs Fayyaz Ismail and Ali Azim from the chamber.

2:27 pm – The sitting is expected to resume shortly.

2:21 pm – The deputy speaker is attempting to restart the sitting with security personnel surrounding the speaker’s well.

2:18 pm – Riot police are dispersing opposition supporters gathered outside the MDP office near the parliament building.

2:12pm – The result sheet for the vote on Nihan’s proposal for a roll call vote shows that jailed MP Ahmed Mahloof and Deputy Speaker Moosa Manik participated in the vote.

 

1:58 pm – The screen inside the chamber showed the result of the vote on Nihan’s proposal as 45 in favour, two against and one abstention. However, the deputy speaker said the result was 45 in favour and none against with 83 in attendance.

The vote was taken through the electronic voting system.

Opposition MPs insist that a roll call vote can only be called if problems arise after voting through the electronic system.

1;48 pm – After calling the vote, the deputy speaker has adjourned the sitting with opposition lawmakers protesting vociferously on their feet near the speaker’s well and some screaming in his ear.

Posted by Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik on Monday, 27 March 2017

1:40 pm – With MDP MPs on their feet, Majlis has approved a roll call vote with 45 votes in favour, two against and one abstention. The no-confidence motion can be defeated with 42 votes.

1:37 pm – Opposition MPs are protesting inside the chamber as the deputy speaker calls a vote on Majority Leader Nihan’s vote for a roll call vote.

12:28 pm – A joint parliamentary group meeting of opposition lawmakers is underway. MP Imthiyaz Fahmy, the MDP’s spokesman, told the Maldives Independent that the group will decide on a way forward.

12:15 pm – As the vote approaches, both sides continue to level allegations against each other. PPM MP Khaleel has said that Majlis security refused to allow journalists and members of NGOs to observe proceedings in order to prevent a “planned disruption by the opposition”.

11:55 am – Gayoom has also insisted that the electronic voting system must be used as stated in the parliamentary rules.

11:15 am – Nasheed has accused the government of tampering with the electronic voting system.

11:00 am – MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has told Raajje TV that a roll call vote would be against the parliamentary rules of procedure, which requires electronic voting unless “questions are raised about the vote and it can be seen clearly”.

A proposal for a roll call must also be put to a vote and approved.

The minority leader also said that his personal system inside the chamber has not been working. “We don’t have any certainty that there aren’t any problems with the systems of any of our members,” he said.

The MDP will decide on a course of action, Solih said.

Majority Leader Nihan has meanwhile alleged that the opposition of trying to “hack” the electronic voting system.

9:50 am – About 50 opposition supporters clad in yellow t-shirts with anti-Maseeh slogans have gathered outside the MDP office in Sosun Magu, a short distance from the parliament building.

9:44 am – With no MPs left to speak, the deputy speaker has declared that the debate is over. The sitting will resume at 1:30 for the vote.

9:42 am – PPM MPs Nihan, Abdulla Khaleel, Abdul Raheem Abdulla and Riyaz Rasheed have spoken so far. All of the senior ruling party lawmakers dismissed the no-confidence motion as motivated by “jealousy” of the government’s achievements and expressed confidence that it will be easily defeated.

9:35 am – PPM MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla has seconded Nihan’s proposal for a roll call vote, which would involve calling each member’s name and asking for their vote.

Citing rumours about tampering with the voting system, JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim also backed a roll call vote if there are problems with the electronic voting devices.

9:30 am – Speaking first during the debate, MP Faris said lawmakers are unable to fulfil their responsibilities due to the unfair conduct of the speaker.

Majority Leader Ahmed Nihan proposed a roll call vote in order to avoid allegations of fraud through voting machines.

9:23 am – Riot police have closed all roads surrounding the Majlis building and set up barricades. Journalists and members waiting outside parliament were forced to leave.

9:21 am – Speaking in his defence, Maseeh has dismissed the grounds for his dismissal as “utterly baseless”.

He addressed each of the seven reasons stated in the no-confidence motion and insisted that parliamentary proceedings were conducted in accordance with the rules of procedure.

The parliament’s productivity has been 98 percent, he said.

9:03 am – The sitting of parliament is now underway with 64 MPs in attendance. MP Faris is introducing the no-confidence motion.

Maldives National Defence Force personnel in charge of parliament’s security barred media and civil society organisations from observing the sitting. A security official told the Maldives Independent journalist that “orders came from above.”

The roads around the People’s Majlis have not been closed to traffic or cordoned off with police barricades. But groups of  Specialist Operations police officers in riot gear are active in the area.

Late on Sunday night, the police and military called a press conference and claimed to have learned of plans to incite unrest in Malé by gathering people from the atolls to the capital. Chief Superintendent Hamdhoon Rasheed warned that the “police’s legal powers will be used to the highest degree” to protect national security.

An MNDF officer said the military is in a state of readiness to provide assistance to the police.