Opposition agrees to appoint JP leader Gasim as new speaker

Maldives' opposition coalition has agreed to appoint Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim as the country's new speaker after removing Abdulla Maseeh from the post.

During a joint parliamentary group sit-down on Wednesday, 42 opposition lawmakers had backed Gasim's nomination to the speaker post.

The decision came hours after the opposition had filed a no-confidence motion to unseat Maseeh as the speaker.

Speaking to reporters after filing a fresh censure motion against Maseeh on Wednesday, JP deputy leader Abdulla Riyaz said the party hopes to replace Maseeh with Gasim who recently returned to the country from exile.

Gasim had returned to the Maldives earlier this month after he was granted bail by the High Court before his bribery conviction was overturned on Monday.

The motion to unseat the speaker was filed with 51 signatures which included several government lawmakers.

AVAS understands that as many as 15 lawmakers from the ruling coalition which includes Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) had backed the motion to unseat the speaker.