Parliament in limbo as army tightens security

Amid increasing political tension in the Maldives, the parliament at the centre of a struggle for majority between the opposition and the ruling party remains in limbo amid tightened army security.

Parliament last held a session on July 31, which had been cut-short after opposition lawmakers erupted in protest, laying siege to the speaker's table.

The parliament rules of procedure mandates holding sessions from Monday through Wednesday every week under normal conditions.

While parliament's second term commenced back in June, the parliament had seen only eight sessions. An unusual and suspicious small fire had broken out in the of the restrooms of parliament which had suspended sessions.

Meanwhile, staffs employed at the parliament administration has been notified under a memo which conditioned staffs to fill and submit a permit application at Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) requesting to work out of office hours – with reason being stated as the continued work to increase and bolster the security around the premises.

So far no comment from the deputy speaker vice speaker on the matter has been lodged – similarly both majority and minority leaders have been unavailable for comment.

Tensions rose when opposition parliamentarians were prohibited from entry in July 24 as police together with the military blocked the area, resulting in clashes which had several MPs injured.

This has been the apparent reason for the increase in security measures at the parliament house.

While it is unsure when sessions will resume, several committee proceedings and bills are put on halt or are either pending – which includes bills presented during last year’s term such as the education act and research and assessment on evidence bill.