The People’s Majlis returned from a one-month recess and began its second session of the year with a 12-minute sitting on Monday.
With no bills to debate on the agenda, Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed adjourned proceedings after announcing nominees sent by President Abdulla Yameen for parliamentary approval.
The president nominated former MP Mohamed Nasheed as the Maldivian ambassador to Thailand. The former Maldivian Democratic Party lawmaker is now the leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party, a small party that backed the ruling coalition in last month’s municipal elections.
Deputy Gender Minister Mohamed Zahid was nominated to fill a vacancy on the Human Rights Commission of Maldives. Zahid was the commission’s vice president during its previous five-year term that ended in August 2015.
Former HRCM member Shifaq Mufeed ‘Histo’ resigned from the five-member commission in early May. A week later, he was appointed state minister for home affairs.
The president also nominated three members to the Local Government Authority, an oversight body tasked with coordinating the work of councils with the central government.
Yameen ratified an amendment to the decentralisation law in late April that removed six councillors from the LGA’s board. Six posts reserved for representatives from city and atoll councils as well as a member representing the public were abolished.
The president was authorised to appoint the other five members, subject to parliamentary approval, including a cabinet member, a chief executive officer, a civil society member, and two experts in the fields of gender equality and public administration.
Ahmed ‘Chandhaliya’ Hassan was nominated as the civil society representative, Minna Rasheed as the expert in gender equality, and Amir Ali as the expert in governance or public administration.
All of the president’s nominees were sent to standing committees for evaluation, after which they will be put to a confirmation vote on the Majlis floor.
The independent institutions oversight committee will consider the ambassador nominee and the national security committee will evaluate the other nominees.
The national security committee was also asked to review an agreement between the Maldives and the United Arab Emirates on the ‘Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments’.
Any treaty or agreement with foreign states that impose obligations on Maldivian citizen requires parliamentary approval.
The parliament broke for recess in mid-April amidst political turmoil with a new alliance formed between former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and opposition parties seeking to gain a majority with defections from the divided ruling party.
The alliance sought unsuccessfully to remove Maseeh with a no-confidence vote on May 27. The parliamentary rules were subsequently changed to require a minimum of 42 signatures from the 85-member house to submit a no-confidence motion against the speaker or the deputy speaker.
Jumhooree Party’s leader Gasim Ibrahim was meanwhile put on trial on charges of attempting to bribe lawmakers. Other opposition lawmakers have also been questioned by the police over alleged bribery.
The supreme court has since decided that the legitimacy of no-confidence or impeachment votes will now be subject to a supreme court review. The parliament’s removal of the president, vice president, ministers, judges, auditor general, prosecutor general and members of independent institutions will only stand after the apex court rules on its legitimacy.