MDP issues three-line whip on constitution amendment bill

Main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s parliamentary group has issued a three-line whip to pass the bill seeking to amend the constitution to extend the current term of local councils.

The local council election slated for April 4th was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and two bills have been submitted to the parliament on the issue. While the first is a sunset bill submitted by MDP's Chairperson Hassan Latheef seeking to postpone the local council election and enact policies regarding the election due to the restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, the second bill seeks amendments to the constitution to allow the extension of the term of the current councils.

While the parliament first worked on the sunset bill, Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath and the Parliament's Counsellor General Fathmath Filza issued an opinion that the term of current councils can be extended only by amending the constitution. The second bill on the amendment of the constitution was then submitted, and the bill is currently in the preliminary debate stage.

MDP, which holds parliament's super majority, on Tuesday agreed to issue a three-line whip to pass the bill on amending the constitution to allow extension of the current council term. 42 members voted in favour of the proposition while 9 members voted against it. Four members abstained from voting.

Among the members who voted against the bill are Galolhu South MP Mikael Naseem, Maafannu North MP Imthiyaz Fahmy, Madaveli MP Hussain Firushan, Henveiru North MP Ibrahim Muizzu, Fuvahmulah North MP Mohamed Rasheed, Ungoofaaru MP Mohamed Waheed, Maafannu Central MP Ibrahim 'Bonde' Rasheed, Dhidhdhoo MP Abdulla Waheed and Thoddoo MP Hassan Shiyan. Kelaa MP Ibrahim Shareef, Gadhdhoo MP Ahmed Zahir, Henveiru West MP Hassan Latheef and Hulhudhoo MP Ilyas Labeeb abstained from voting.