Parliament passes new policy on no-confidence motions

The General Purpose Committee of the Parliament has approved a new policy to be followed with regard to no-confidence motions submitted at the parliament.

The committee on Wednesday passed the new policy based on the Supreme Court's verdict on the constitutional dispute filed by then-attorney general Mohamed Anil in 2017, on how the meaning of Article 101 of the Maldivian constitution.

The amendment passed on Wednesday will protect the rights of those who are dismissed through a no-confidence motion, as it outlines the policy that needs to be followed in dismissing ministers, judges, and members of independent institutions. The new policy dictates the rights of these members and how they should respond if questioned by the parliament.

According to the new regulations, all ministers, judge and members of independent institutions can be represented by a lawyer while being questioned by the parliament on a no-confidence motion.

According to the previous regulations, the amount of time granted to answer questions posed by the parliament is pre-decided at a committee meeting. However, according to the new regulations, all those summoned to the parliament over no-confidence motions will be granted two hours to answer questions.

The regulation also states that a member will be immediately dismissed under Article 101)d) of the constitutions if the majority of the parliament votes in favor of the no-confidence motion.

During the debate at the parliament, opposing PPM and PNC members expressed that they wished to immediately pass the amendment, although main-ruling MDP insisted that additional time is required to further review and assess the amendments. However, in a twist of events, coalition member, Jumhooree Party sided with PPM and passed the amendments.

The new policy on how to tackle no confidence motions comes at a time when a no-confidence motion against the current Defence Minister Maria Ahmed Didi is being sought by the opposition. Speaker of the Parliament, Gasim Ibrahim has stated that the motion was not moving forward due to lack of appropriate regulations on how to pursue such motions.