A crucial vote on the Maldives state of emergency will take place Monday, but with the opposition suddenly losing its parliamentary majority after a court order delayed the reinstatement of MPs who had been stripped of their seats.
A parliament spokesman told media Sunday that an extraordinary meeting had been scheduled for the following morning.
Members are expected to vote on a resolution to approve, extend or revoke the state of emergency as its deadline for parliamentary approval is set to expire Monday.
President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency two weeks ago, after the Supreme Court ordered the release of nine prisoners and the reinstatement of 12 opposition MPs. He said he was forced to declare one to investigate a coup plot.
Parliament has the power to revoke or extend the state of emergency and, for a few weeks, the opposition enjoyed a majority.
But on Sunday night the Supreme Court said it had been asked by the attorney general to hold off on giving the MPs their seats back.
“Can’t and won’t do a single thing within the confines of the law,” fumed opposition spokesman and MP Ahmed Mahloof. “Passing orders after arresting 2 judges and threatening the remaining 3 when realizing will get beat big time tomorrow. If all members were allowed, 50 votes is certain,” he tweeted, signing off with #BigCoward.
The parliamentary group leader for the ruling coalition, Ahmed Nihan, said earlier that lawmakers were ready to help the government.
“Will assist to implement the Agenda! PPM MDA is ready for tomorrow’s session,” he told the Maldives Independent. He did not answer questions about what the government’s agenda was.
“PPM and MDA members are ready for tomorrow’s session. With god’s grace we will help the government to protect this country from traitors,” Nihan tweeted earlier.
A text message about the Monday vote was sent out to the 12 MPs.
Parliament’s opening session for 2018, which was due to be held on February 5, was cancelled for security reasons. Later that night Yameen declared a state of emergency.
This article has been updated.