Minority leader to respond to presidential address next week

The opposition will be responding to the presidential address delivered by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih at the inaugural session at the parliament, next Monday.

According to the parliament rules, the members of the parliament have to respond to the presidential address delivered at the inaugural session. The rules state that the majority or minority leader of the party represented by the most number of MPs in the parliament, with the exemption of the party the president belongs to, has to respond to the address.

While 65 members of main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) sits on the parliament, the second-most number of members are from opposing Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), with six members.Therefore, as the minority leader, the response to the address will be delivered by the party's parliamentary group leader and Eydhafushi MP Ahmed Saleem.

At the beginning of Wednesday's parliament sitting, Speaker Mohamed Nasheed announced that the minority leader has requested to include the response to the presidential address in the agenda. Therefore, it has been scheduled for Monday, February 24, announced Nasheed.

"I believe next Monday will be the day I open up the parliament floor for the minority leader to say whatever he wishes to say," said Nasheed.

Assuring that MDP members would not obstruct the delivery of the response, Nasheed said he hopes that the minority leader sticks to a certain 'format' in delivering his response.

The opposition recently held a meeting with the MPs of the remaining parties, and independent members seeking their opinion on the presidential address. This includes three members from PPM's sister party Peoples' National Congress, five members from ruling-coalition partner Jumhooree Party, four independent members and leader of Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party MP Abdulla Jabir.