Opposition MPs submitted today a no-confidence motion against Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed, accusing the ruling party MP of breaching the constitution and the parliamentary rules of procedures to do the government’s bidding.
According to local media, the motion was submitted with the signatures of the minimum 15 MPs required by the rules. However, with its 21 MPs, the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party lacks the majority needed to remove Maseeh from the post.
Shortly after the news broke, Majority Leader Ahmed Nihan said in a tweet that a speaker “endorsed” by the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives cannot be removed as the ruling coalition controls 52 seats in the 85-member house.
Independent MP Ahmed Mahloof is reportedly among the signatories to the no-confidence motion along with at least 18 MDP MPs.
Appearing on opposition-aligned broadcaster Raajje TV today, MDP MP Rozaina Adam contended that Maseeh violated the Majlis rules or standing orders in pushing through controversial amendments to the constitution, the impeachment of two vice presidents, and the government’s flagship Special Economic Zones Act.
Maseeh was also behind several arbitrary changes brought to the standing orders to marginalise opposition MPs and rubber stamp government-sponsored legislation, Rozaina said.
The motion reportedly stated that Maseeh also discriminated against opposition MPs and encouraged disorder in the chamber with his inaction.
Maseeh came under fire last month for his failure to halt a sitting after Nihan spit on Rozaina. The incident occurred during a heated exchange over the Maldives’ biggest corruption scandal, which the opposition insists was carried out on the orders of President Abdulla Yameen.
In late February, anti-corruption NGO Transparency International slammed Maseeh for his silence and inaction over allegations of MPs’ involvement in the embezzlement of nearly US$80 million from resort lease payments.
“While investigations reveal that massive embezzlement from the state treasury have taken place, and while MPs and companies linked to them are rumored to have benefited, why hasn’t the Majlis investigated these allegations and taking action against all involved?” TM asked the speaker in an open letter.