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Anti-defection law repealed

The law gave parties the power to unseat lawmakers.



Parliament Thursday night passed approved the repeal of an anti-defection law that penalises floor crossing by stripping lawmakers of their seats.

Thirty-seven MPs voted in favour of abolishing the law, 17 voted against, and five abstained.

The anti-defection law effectively gave political parties the power to unseat lawmakers. It triggered the automatic removal of MPs who get expelled or resign from their party.

The bill to repeal was proposed by MP Riyaz Rasheed, the deputy parliamentary group leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives, who was among pro-government lawmakers who voted to pass the anti-defection law in March.

Introducing the bill to the parliament floor last week, Riyaz called his vote the most “regrettable” decision of his career.

Most MPs supported repeal during the debate at Wednesday’s sitting, with many describing the provisions on disqualification as unconstitutional.

But ruling party MPs who backed the law argued it was necessary to close the “transfer market” of lawmakers who switch parties.

In July last year, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that penalised floor crossing until parliament could pass an anti-defection law.

It was used to unseat 12 former PPM MPs – all of whom have been reinstated – after they backed the opposition’s bid to impeach the speaker.

The attorney general sought the anti-defection ruling on the day the opposition coalition secured a clear majority.

The disqualification of the dozen defectors was used to restore the pro-government majority.

When the anti-defection law was passed in March this year, the opposition challenged its legality on the grounds that it was voted through without the constitutional quorum needed to pass laws.

More than half the 85-member house must be present for voting on “any matter requiring compliance by citizens” but only 39 lawmakers attended the March 13 sitting.

Asked to strike down the law, the Supreme Court ruled that arguments made by state attorneys about a “doctrine of necessity”overruled the need to follow a constitutional requirement.

The opposition’s parliament boycott posed “obstacles to calling votes on crucial matters” of economic and social welfare, state attorneys had contended.


  1. Abdul Latheef Mohamed (Independent)
  2. Abdulla Ahmed (Independent)
  3. Abdulla Riyaz (JP)
  4. Abdulla Shahid (MDP)
  5. Abdulla Sinan (Independent)
  6. Ahmed Assad (PPM)
  7. Ahmed Azhan Fahmy (PPM)
  8. Ahmed Mahloof (Independent)
  9. Ahmed Nashid (MDP)
  10. Ahmed Rasheed (PPM)
  11. Ahmed Rasheed Ibrahim (PPM)
  12. Ahmed Thoriq (PPM)
  13. Ali Azim (MDP)
  14. Ali Fazad (PPM)
  15. Ali Hussain (JP)
  16. Ali Shah (Independent)
  17. Anara Naeem (Adhaalath)
  18. Hussain Areef (Independent)
  19. Hussain Manik Dhon Manik (PPM)
  20. Hussain Mohamed (JP)
  21. Hussain Mohamed Latheef (PPM)
  22. Ibrahim Hassan (JP)
  23. Ibrahim Naseer (MDP)
  24. Ilham Ahmed (Independent)
  25. Mariya Ahmed Didi (MDP)
  26. Mohamed Abdulla (Independent)
  27. Mohamed Ameeth (Independent)
  28. Mohamed Hussain (PPM)
  29. Mohamed Musthafa (Independent)
  30. Mohamed Nasheed (PPM)
  31. Mohamed Nazim (MDP)
  32. Mohamed Rasheed Hussain (MDP)
  33. Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim (Independent)
  34. Moosa Nizar Ibrahim (JP)
  35. Gasim Ibrahim (JP)
  36. Riyaz Rasheed (PPM)
  37. Saudhulla Hilmy (Independent)


  1. Abdul Raheem Abdulla (PPM)
  2. Abdulla Khaleel (PPM)
  3. Abdulla Rifau (PPM)
  4. Ahmed Nihan (PPM)
  5. Ahmed Shiyam (PPM)
  6. Ali Arif (PPM)
  7. Ali Mohamed (PPM)
  8. Asma Rasheed (PPM)
  9. Hassan Mufeed Abdul Gadir (PPM)
  10. Ibrahim Falah (PPM)
  11. Ibrahim Riza (PPM)
  12. Jameel Usman (PPM)
  13. Jaufar Dawood (PPM)
  14. Mohamed Ali (PPM)
  15. Mohamed Ismail (MDA)
  16. Mohamed Shahid (PPM)
  17. Muaz Mohamed Rasheed (PPM)


  1. Ahmed Mubeen (PPM)
  2. Ahmed Siyam Mohamed (MDA)
  3. Fayyaz Ismail (MDP)
  4. Ibrahim Shareef (MDP)
  5. Umar Hussain (MDA)


  1. Abdul Bari Abdulla (MDP)
  2. Abdul Ghafoor Moosa (MDP)
  3. Ahmed Faris Maumoon (PPM)
  4. Ahmed Marzooq (MDP)
  5. Ali Mauroof (MDA)
  6. Ali Nizar (MDP)
  7. Eva Abdulla (MDP)
  8. Faisal Naseem (JP)
  9. Hussain Shahudhy (Independent)
  10. Ibrahim Didi (PPM)
  11. Ibrahim Mohamed Didi (MDP)
  12. Imthiyaz Fahmy (MDP)
  13. Mohamed Aslam (MDP)
  14. Mohamed Falah (MDP)
  15. Nazim Rashad (PPM)
  16. Rozaina Adam (MDP)
  17. Saud Hussain (Independent)