Nasheed stresses on need to re-introduce anti-defection law

Former president Mohamed Nasheed on Monday stressed on the need to re-introduce the anti-defection law in an effort to stop lawmakers from switching parties after "betraying" their respective constituents.

The then government controlled parliament in March last year had passed the anti-defection law largely devised to disqualify a dozen former government lawmakers.

The opposition coalition with its new found parliament majority had moved quickly to repeal the law ahead of the parliamentary elections next year after its resounding victory in last September's presidential elections.

One of the very last acts as president, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom in November last year ratified the motion passed by the parliament to repeal the contentious law.

However, speaking at a primary campaign kick-off event in the capital Male on Monday, Nasheed insisted that lawmakers elected on party tickets must not be allowed to switch parties.

"You [the people] elect members to parliament. The person you chose would be representing you in parliament. So MPs must be stopped from switching parties by law," Nasheed who himself would be contesting for a seat stressed.

Nasheed reiterated that the main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) must win parliament majority to sustain the coalition government adding that "a car cannot run without fuel."

Before its was repealed, the anti-defection law stated that lawmakers elected on party tickets would lose their respective seats if they quit, change or are dismissed from the party. However, the law would not apply to independent members if they sign for a particular party.

The law also does not apply to lawmakers for violating party whip-lines or are penalized by a party for disciplinary violations.