Muizzu urged to apologise to people of India

Earlier last year, then Maldives President Ibrahim Solih signed a decree stating that the opposition’s ‘India Out’ campaign is a “threat to national security”….reports Asian Lite News

The Maldives Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Qasim Ibrahim called on Maldivian President Mohammed Muizzu to formally apologize to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of India, Voice of Maldives, a Maldivian digital news outlet, reported.

“Regarding any country, especially a neighbouring one, we shouldn’t speak in a way that affects the relationship. We have an obligation to our state that must be considered. President Solih did consider this obligation and issued a Presidential Decree banning the “India Out” campaign. Now, Yameen is questioning why Muizzu, who participated with him in the India Out Campaign, has not nullified the Presidential Decree,” he said.

He added, “The Decree should not be nullified, as it would only result in a loss to the nation. That cannot be done. I would tell Muizzu that it shouldn’t be done. Also, I call on President Muizzu to formally apologize to the Indian government and Prime Minister Modi regarding his remarks after the China trip.”

Earlier last year, then Maldives President Ibrahim Solih signed a decree stating that the opposition’s ‘India Out’ campaign is a “threat to national security”. This allows security agencies to take down campaign banners and provides constitutional cover to take action against opposition parties.

The opposition, led by former president Abdulla Yameen of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) was spearheading an ‘India Out’ campaign for over the last year propagating the unproven claim that Indian military officers stationed in the Indian Ocean island nation are a violation of Maldives’ sovereignty. 

The campaign’s implicit target was then Maldivian President Solih and the Maldivian Democratic Party, both perceived as close to India.

Notably, Solih was one of the prominent Maldives leader to condemn the derogatory remarks made by some junior ministers which led to a diplomatic standoff between the two nations.India and the Maldives on January 14 “agreed to fast-track the withdrawal of Indian military personnel” from the island nation, according to the Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The removal of Indian troops in the Maldives was the main campaign plank of Muizzu’s party during the presidential elections. Currently, there are around 70 Indian troops, along with Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft and two HAL Dhruv helicopters, stationed On the second day of assuming office, Muizzu officially requested the Indian government to withdraw its military personnel from the Maldives.

Apart from the call for the withdrawal of Indian military personnel, a massive row erupted after a Maldivian deputy minister, along with other cabinet members and government officials, made disparaging and unsavoury references to Primer Minister Narendra Modi’s recent Lakshadweep visit and call to development the Indian archipelago as a global retreat for beach tourism.

The Maldives government, however, distanced itself from the remarks. (ANI)

Maldives govt moves SC over impeachment process

The Attorney General’s Office has registered a case with the Maldives Supreme Court over the recent amendment to the Parliament’s standing orders that enables opposition lawmakers to impeach the president, Maldives-based Sun Online reported.

In November, seven lawmakers resigned from the Parliament to assume top positions in the Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu-led government. However, the Elections Commission decided against holding by-elections as the parliamentary polls are scheduled in 2024.

Taking advantage of the situation, the main opposition MDP, which holds a majority in the Parliament, amended the Parliament’s standing orders so that vacated seats are not countered during the determination of the total number of Members of Parliament, according to Sun Online report.

Currently, the Maldives Parliament needs 54 votes to impeach Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, instead of the previous 58, as according to the amendment to the standing orders, the total number of MPs is now 80, instead of 87.

Last week, the MDP and opposition Democrats announced an alliance to work together in Parliament to “hold the government accountable.” The MDP and Democrats have 56 MPs in total, which includes 43 MPs from the MDP and 13 MPs from Democrats. The two parties have the power to impeach the Maldives President if they want.

Speaking to Sun, Attorney General Ahmed Usham on Tuesday said that his office filed the case with the Supreme Court on Sunday. However, the court is yet to register the case.

On Monday, a MDP lawmaker said that the party had gathered enough signatures to register an impeachment motion. However, it has yet to be submitted, according to Sun Online report.

On Monday, the Maldives Parliament denied approval to three members of President Muizzu’s cabinet: Usham, Housing Minister Ali Haidar Ahmed, and Islamic Minister Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed.

The development came after the MDP passed a three-line red whip the day before to reject the three ministers and Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed. However, Saeed survived the vote. Within hours of the vote, Usham, Haidar and Shaheem were reappointed to the cabinet and took their oath before Justice Husnu Al Suood.

Earlier on Sunday, the Maldives Parliament witnessed violence when government MPs (PPM/PNC party) disturbed the proceedings of Parliament and the Speakers, Maldives-based Adhadhu reported. A key vote on parliamentary approval for the Muizzu government was scheduled on Sunday.

As dramatic visuals surfaced on social media from Male, a fight between MDP MP Isa and PNC MP Abdullah Shaheem Abdul Hakeem was seen. According to Adhadhu, one video showcased Shaheem gripping Isa’s leg and the two falling together, whereas another visual that went viral on social media showed Isa kicking Shaheem’s neck and pulling his hair.

The footage also shows other members pushing Shaheem out of the area. A member of parliament was brought to an ambulance after suffering injuries, the local media reported.

Notably, the ministers’ approval was slated for 1:30 pm (local time). However, several PNC members barricaded the House and disrupted the session. The demonstrators said that accepting the ministers would stymie progress, as they demanded the Speaker of Parliament to quit, Adhadhu reported.

The ruling coalition parties, the PNC and the PPP, released a statement portraying the ministers’ refusal as an impediment to the delivery of public services, according to Adhadhu. However, Chief Advisor to Muizzu and PNC Chairman Abdul Raheem Abdullah stated that the ministers have the right to be reappointed even if they are not authorised. He criticised the refusal to approve the ministers as irresponsible. (ANI)

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