'Pres did not request parliament to draft bills on govt's behalf'

President's Office has stated that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has not requested the parliament to draft the bills being submitted by the government.

The parliament has revealed that its committees have begun work on drafting bills to be submitted by the government under Speaker Mohamed Nasheed's instruction. Following the revelation, cabinet ministers have expressed their concern on the matter.

Before beginning Wednesday's Parliament sitting, Speaker Nasheed said there are no obstacles to work on making the laws through the Parliament. Nasheed's statement, which further noted that all legislative power is vested in the parliament by the Maldivian constitution, is a response to the Attorney General and cabinet ministers who opposed Nasheed's decision for the parliament to draft the bills.

Nasheed said main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s Parliamentary Group leader Ali Azim has informed the Speaker that the party intends to submit 20 bills during the current term. According to the letter sent to the parliament outlining the bills, the only bills the parliament cannot work on are bills on revenue and income.

The Speaker said the current regulations of the parliament allows the party which holds parliament majority to submit bills even if the government opposes it. While the president is from MDP, all members representing MDP in the parliament are therefore members representing the government, said Nasheed.

Spokesperson of the President's Office Ibrahim Hood denied reports that President Solih requested the Parliament to draft bills on the government's behalf. However, the President requested the Parliament to expedite work on the bills, said Hood, and confirmed that all bills being submitted by the government are being drafted by the government.

Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath has expressed concern on the Parliament's decision, and said the bills being submitted by the government is an instrument which dictates government policies and its implementation in fulfilling pledges made to the people. A parliament with "integrity" would allow the government the opportunity to work on the bills, said Riffath.