Over 100,000 signatures collected for petition calling for parliamentary system

The petition calling to change the Maldives' government system to a parliamentary system has collected over 100,000 signatures.

The manifesto prepared by the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) ahead of the 2018 presidential election states that an elected MDP president would bring about constitutional changes that would allow the country's current presidential system to be changed to a parliamentary system. A campaign was recently launched to encourage President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to follow the manifesto and bring about the change. MDP member Mohamed Nisham Ibrahim leads the movement.

Speaking to AVAS, Nisham said the 90-day campaign received more support than anticipated and has since been expanded to the atolls. He noted that 109,824 signatures had been collected thus far. However, 83 signatures were omitted from the amount as they were repeated. Therefore, the tally is currently 109,742 after the adjustment, he said.

Nisham said as there is tremendous support for the campaign, the team leading the campaign will work to reach the entire eligible vote population. It will be submitted to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as well as the Parliament, he said.

MDP Leader and Speaker of the Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed, has requested that all who support a parliamentary system sign the petition. Nasheed, who is very vocal about his desire to become Prime Minister under a parliamentary system, has expressed his aspiration to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. A message sent by Nasheed to President Solih said he wished to discuss changing the government system to a Parliamentary system. In his message, Nasheed said he no longer wished to remain on the sidelines and that he wished to be part of running the country as Prime Minister. He called on the president to dissolve the government, cancel the 2023 presidential election, and change the system to a parliamentary system through the Parliament. Nasheed further said he thought it would be best to bring the change in February 2023 and that the Parliament should run the country until the next parliamentary election in 2024.

On November 9, Nasheed sent a message to a Whatsapp group with the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s National Council members. It said a referendum to decide on the government system will take place in November 2022. He said that political parties agreed to hold the referendum. Although the vote will be taken in 2022, he said that the current presidential system will be officially changed to a parliamentary system in 2023.

In his message, Nasheed stressed why MDP must be active in changing the government system. He emphasized that it is the best approach rather than himself and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih contesting against each other in the party primary and requested council members to ponder on the matter.