Deputy Speaker refuses to preside over parliamentary sessions amidst impasse over Speaker's impeachment

Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Eva Abdulla, has declined to preside over parliamentary sittings in response to the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) seeking court intervention to remove Speaker Mohamed Nasheed.

The MDP initiated a no-confidence motion against Speaker Nasheed on October 9, garnering support from 49 MDP MPs. However, several parliamentary sessions scheduled for discussing the motion were canceled due to the Deputy Speaker being ill. As per Parliament rules, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament is responsible for presiding over a session in which the impeachment of the Speaker is pending. Frustrated by these delays, the MDP has resorted to legal action, seeking the Supreme Court's intervention to expedite proceedings. They have requested the court to rule in accordance with parliamentary rules, ensuring that the impeachment motion is addressed promptly. The first hearing of this case is scheduled to take place in the Supreme Court on Monday.

In a letter addressed to the Parliament's Secretary General Fathimath Niusha, Deputy Speaker Eva expressed her reluctance to chair parliamentary sessions until the Supreme Court makes a decision on the impeachment case. Eva said she believes the Parliament making a decision and proceeding in a certain way before the Supreme Court decides on the matter contradicts established parliamentary practices and policies.

Ewa emphasized that the Constitution entrusts all state agencies and those in charge of the administration of the state to support the courts in safeguarding their independence, preserving their dignity, and ensuring their impartial and robust operation. Furthermore, she pointed out that the Parliament's approach to the matter could influence the Supreme Court's proceedings. Eva also said she believes it is in contempt of court for a party to seek a court ruling on a matter while concurrently pursuing actions that would sway the current situation in a specific direction before the court's verdict.

Eva stressed the importance of maintaining a clear separation of legislative and judicial powers within the constitutional framework to uphold the perception of the separation of powers. Therefore, she refuses to preside over parliamentary sessions related to the no-confidence motion against the Speaker until the court decides on the matter, she said.

In her letter, Eva also expressed her regret for her absence from recent parliamentary sessions due to health reasons.