Speaker accused of 'lying' to deputy about stepping down

Parliament speaker Abdulla Maseeh who is facing a no-confidence motion next month had lied about stepping down on Tuesday, deputy speaker Moosa Manik told lawmakers on Wednesday.

During a heated debate on the contentious anti-defection law, Manik responded to accusations of "tyranny" in scheduling impromptu parliament sittings by insisting that parliament sittings were still scheduled by the speaker adding that he had no say in the matter.

Manik also alleged that Maseeh had lied to him about resigning during Wednesday's sitting.

"I just want to tell you that Maseeh lied to me by asking me to schedule a sitting to announce his resignation," Manik said.

Parliament secretariat meanwhile has tabled the opposition led censure motion to unseat speaker Abdulla Maseeh on November 8.

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.

The opposition is expected to succeed in its bid as only a simple majority - 43 votes are required to unseat the speaker.

Opposition has urged Maseeh to step-down 'gracefully' before the vote.