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President vetoes pension for former chief justice and vice presidents

A monthly allowance of US$2,270 was proposed for former vice presidents.



President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has vetoed legislation passed by the outgoing parliament to grant a pension to former vice presidents and a retired chief justice.

The president believed the bills were contrary to the spirit of the constitution, his spokesman Ibrahim Hood told the press on Tuesday.

Both bills were returned for reconsideration but the outgoing parliament’s five-year term is due to end this month.

The 18th People’s Majlis concluded its final sitting in late April and broke for a one-month recess. Unfinished bills would have to be resubmitted after MPs-elect are sworn in on May 28.

Submitted by opposition MP Ahmed Saleem, the bill on privileges for former vice presidents proposed a monthly allowance of MVR35,000 (US$2,270). Former VPs Mohamed Waheedudeen, Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and Abdulla Jihad would have been eligible for the proposed benefits, which also included security, a state car, diplomatic passport, VIP services, and overseas medical treatment.

Issues flagged after the bill was forwarded for ratification included a provision that assured the pension for individuals who were in office for short periods, the president’s spokesman noted.

The bill to grant privileges to former chief justice Mohamed Rasheed Ibrahim, who served in the post prior to the adoption of the 2008 constitution, was passed at the final sitting.

Hood said the bill violated article 75 of the constitution, which states that MPs “should be guided in their actions by considerations of national interest and public welfare foremost, and should not exploit their official positions in any way for their own benefit or for the benefit of those with whom they have special relations.”

Lawmakers from the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party voted No to the amendments to the Judges Act, condemning the rush to push through new laws in the last days of the term.

The bills also drew heavy criticism on social media as the sum proposed as monthly allowances was much higher than the pension for retired government workers.