A constitutional amendment was passed Wednesday night to reverse changes that imposed an age limit of 65 years for presidential candidates.
A bill proposed by MP Ali Arif from the former ruling party was passed unanimously with 72 votes in favour, well above the three-quarters majority required to amend the constitution.
Article 109(c) on the qualifications for election as president was changed to state that candidates must be “at least 35 years of age.”
In the first amendment brought to the constitution since it was adopted in August 2008, the article was revised in June 2015 to set an age limit of between 30 to 65 years.
The amendment barred Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom from contesting and cleared the way for the appointment of then-tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb as vice president.
The 33-year-old was ineligible for the post as the qualifications for the vice president was the same as those of the president.
The first amendment was passed with 78 votes with only independent MP Ahmed Mahloof and JP MP Ali Hussain casting dissenting votes.
Both the JP and Maldivian Democratic Party had issued three-line whips for its MPs to back the amendment as part of a deal with the former administration. JP leader Gasim, who was out of the country at the time, urged JP MPs to vote for the amendments and announced his retirement from politics.
During the debate on the constitutional amendments on Tuesday, Gasim – who was elected speaker in the wake of former president Abdulla Yameen’s defeat in September’s election – was criticised by some ruling coalition lawmakers for expediting the legislative process to push through the repeal.