Malé, Maldives – Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) parliamentary group leader, MP Ali Azim has said that it was crucial for the opposition leaders position to be made statutory.
MP Azim stated that the purpose of this bill was to eliminate the confusion as to what party or individual is leading the opposition, adding that an opposition is an important part of democracy and that the apparent absence of a leader hinders attempts of official discussions.
MP Azim has also stated on local news channel “RajjeTV” that the opposition leader will receive a salary, along with state provided security. A state provided office and vehicle were also discussed to be included in the bill.
The bill does not explicitly state that the selected leader is to be a member of parliament and the leader is reportedly to be selected from the opposition party with the most seats in parliament.
MP Azim noted that this bill does not come with any ulterior motives and a draft of the bill was shared with the opposition, who have pointed out some discrepancies that are to be amended before the decree is submitted to Parliament.
The acting leader of the opposition coalition consisting of PPM and PNC is Abdul Raheem Abdullah (Adhurey). However, the coalition’s ‘true’ leader is acknowledged by both parties as Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who is currently serving a 5 year jail sentence for money laundering, and is expected to face more time as the state is pressing additional charges.
Although Former President Yameen is the acknowledged leader of the opposition, he cannot become the opposition leader due to a amendment passed by a PPM majority Parliament during his presidency stating that those who have served jail time cannot run for office which was passed targeting the then opposition. The bill was targeting opposition leaders Mohamed Nasheed of MDP, Gasim Ibrahim of JP and Imran Abdullah of AP, all who served jail time during Yameen’s administration.