Maldives parliament votes to impeach vice president – as it happened

Maldives parliament votes to impeach vice president – as it happened
November 05 16:31 2015

The Maldives parliament impeached today Vice President Ahmed Adeeb in an abrupt vote scheduled a day after an unprecedented state of emergency was declared in the island nation.

Some 61 MPs voted to remove Adeeb, who was arrested last week on suspicion of links to the September 28 explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat. The government insists the blast was a targeted assassination attempt.

Yameen suspended constitutional provisions that guarantee Adeeb a 14-day period to defend himself to seven days. The vote, initially scheduled for the second week of November, was held today.

Adeeb was not provided the opportunity to respond to the allegations against him.

The former tourism minister was appointed to the post in July and had only served for 107 days.

His predecessor Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed was removed in July on a charge of incompetence and disloyalty. Jameel fled the country shortly before the vote.

Live blog ended at 5pm

4:15pm: Yameen’s supporters are celebrating Adeeb’s impeachment. Home Minister Umar Naseer and Housing Minister Mohamed Muizzu have offered thanks to Allah.

3:40pm: All 49 MPs of the PPM and MDA, and eight of the 11 JP MPs voted for the motion. Two MDP MPs Ahmed ‘ADK’ Nashid and Reeko Moosa Manik, and Independent MPs Ahmed Mahloof and Hussain Areef voted in favor.

Some 20 MDP MPs did not vote.

3:08pm: The People’s Majlis impeaches Vice President Ahmed Adeeb with 61 votes in favor.

3:05pm: Independent MP Ahmed Mahloof, a former PPM MP, said he will vote in favor of the motion as he had warned against appointing Adeeb to replace former Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed. Mahloof called on the government to engage in talks with the MDP to resolve the prolonged political crisis.

3:03pm: MDP MP Ali Nizar has expressed concern with the lack of due process in today’s vote. Noting Yameen’s suspension of the constitutional provision guaranteeing a 14-day notice period, he accused the current administration of repeatedly breaching the constitution and laws.

3:00pm: JP leader Gasim Ibrahim, who rejoined the ruling coalition recently, said: “I believe all MPs must vote in favor of today’s motion. This is because the Constitution does not allow room for a war between the president and his deputy.”

2:50pm: Backing Adeeb’s impeachment, Majority leader Ahmed Nihan said: “It is clear as sunlight what we are about to do today. Following the terrorist attack on our nation on September 28, and what has been revealed since then, we are now able to state Vice President Ahmed Adeeb is a traitor to this nation.”

Several ruling party MPs have spoken in favor of the motion, saying they must remove a vice president who has lost confidence of the public.

2:40pm: MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla, reading out the motion to remove the vice president, said Adeeb’s detention on suspicion of links to the blast means he is no longer able to perform the responsibilities of his office.

MDP MP Ali Azim, one of the few opposition MPs present at the sitting, raised a point of order and asked the Speaker to provide proof he has notified Adeeb of the impeachment vote. But Maseeh dismissed the point of order.

2:35pm: Speaker Abdulla Maseeh says the People’s Majlis notified Adeeb of the motion to impeach him on October 28. Adeeb was also notified the impeachment would take place today, he claimed.

The constitution guarantees Adeeb the right to respond in speech or in writing. “He has the right to use the opportunity. But to this day, he has not responded and he has not attended the Majlis today. But the constitution says we must proceed,” Maseeh said.

2:30pm: The parliament session is underway. Adeeb has not been brought to the parliament for the impeachment vote. A staff at Adeeb’s office said he is to answer questions through video teleconference.

2:20pm: Four of the five PPM MPs who did not sign the motion voted for the decree. They are Ahmed Thariq, Mohamed Musthafa, Muaz Mohamed Rasheed and Mohamed Abdulla.

PPM MP Yameen Rasheed did not attend the vote.

JP MP Hussain Mohamed, who did not sign the motion, voted for the decree.

The PPM holds 44 seats, its ally Maldives Development Alliance has 5 seats and the Jumhooree Party holds 11 seats. There are 22 MDP MPs, two independent MPs and one Adhaalath Party.

2:00pm: Some 58 MPs voted to approve Yameen’s decree today, raising the likelihood Adeeb will be removed. Several PPM and Jumhooree Party MPs who had not signed the impeachment motion voted for the decree this morning.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party has issued a three-line whip to abstain from the vote.

A two-third majority or 57 votes of the 85-member house is required to impeach the vice president. President Abdulla Yameen’s Progressive Party of the Maldives had mustered 52 votes on the impeachment motion.

In the decree establishing a 30-day nationwide state of emergency, Yameen had shortened the constitutionally guaranteed 14-day notice before an impeachment vote to seven days, allowing the parliament to schedule the vote today.

It is unclear if Adeeb will be allowed to access legal counsel or defend himself in person or at today’s sitting. The Supreme Court last night suspended Adeeb’s lawyer Hussain Shameem.

Since Adeeb was first detained in a police facility located on separate island, he has not been brought to the capital. Judges had conducted remand hearings via video teleconferences.

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