No legal objection to continue coalition agreement: AG Riffath

Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath | Photo: Mihaaru

Malé, Maldives – Attorney General of Maldives Ibrahim Riffath said that there is no legal objection in political parties making coalition agreements to support and aid one another and that there is no problem with the President respecting such an agreement when appointing ministers to the cabinet.

Replying to a question from MP of Kaashidhoo Constituency Abdullah Jabir during a meeting of the Government Oversight Committee of the Parliament, Attorney General Riffath said that it is the President’s decision to appoint ministers to the cabinet that meet the conditions and requirements called for by the Constitution of Maldives. He added that he does not believe that there is a legal objection in the President respecting a coalition agreement when making such a decision.

Attorney General Riffath also added that the ministers being appointed having to be approved by the Parliament shows that there os no legal objection in doing so.

This why I do not think there is a legal objection in doing so. That is also not wrong. The best way might be further detailing the constitution or making a new law specifying it.

Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath

The request to summon and question AG Riffath was made by MP of Vaikaradhoo constituency Hussain Ziyad (Fitte), stating that if such an agreement does exist, it would be known by the AG.

Except for one member, all other members of the committee agreed to discuss the matter with AG Riffath, while some members added that the matter needs to be extensively debated in the Parliament. It was also highlighted that all three of the past administrations came onto the government as coalitions, which soon dissolved.

When asked the question, Riffath said that the presence of such an agreement can be confirmed only by the leaders of the respective parties and that no-one has approached the Attorney General’s Office regarding information of a coalition agreement.

Replying to AG Riffath, MP Jabir likened the running of the government to that of a cake being distributed, saying that the four parties of the governing coalition has distributed the government among themselves the same way a cake is distributed. He added that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said that the government will continue this way.

In addition to this, AG Riffath said that Maldivian political parties have been making coalitions since 2008 and that it has now become a political tradition. He added that the parties have the right to do so as it is not forbidden by the constitution.