Deputy speaker to face censure vote on Apr 11

Hours after government lawmakers defeated an opposition move to oust parliament speaker Abdulla Maseeh, parliament has tabled the no-confidence motion against deputy speaker Moosa Manik on its agenda for April 11.

Similar to the censure motion against Maseeh, the motion to oust Manik is also headed by main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) lawmakers and the MP faction loyal to ousted ruling party leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Manik had fallen out with MDP and was subsequently dismissed from the party for breaking a party whip line during a parliamentary vote. The outspoken lawmaker has since continued to heavily criticism the MDP leadership.

Despite expressing confidence of winning the vote earlier, an opposition victory seems highly unlikely after its failed attempt to remove the speaker earlier Monday.

Before the historic vote, lawmakers voted in favour of taking an individual roll-call vote proposed by majority leader Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik. With 45 lawmakers voting in favour for the roll call vote, it served as a clear marker for the censure vote against the speaker.

Opposition lawmakers had protested the move but the motion was put to vote despite angry opposition lawmakers surrounding the deputy speaker in an attempt to block the vote.

The protests prompted the deputy speaker to delay the vote by nearly an hour. Attempts to resume the sitting was again blocked which resulted in the naming of as many as 13 opposition lawmakers. Some of the lawmakers had to be removed forcibly by soldiers entrusted with parliament security.

After removing the named lawmakers, when it was finally put to the roll-call vote, the remaining opposition MPs had walked out and the motion was defeated comfortably with 48 government lawmakers voting against the motion.

The now united opposition had hoped that the successful ouster of the speaker would pave the way to possibly impeach president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom or force the incumbent president to come to a political consensus with the opposition.

The motion was also designed to test the overwhelming majority the government enjoys in parliament, which has fast-tracked the legislation needed by the government to push through several major development projects and also state revenue measures.