Ministers cannot be held accountable now: Speaker Nasheed

Speaker of Maldivian Parliament and President of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Mohamed Nasheed meeting with his supporters in Maradhoo, Addu City. | Photo: Kula Yellow

Addu City, Maldives – Speaker of Parliament and President of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Mohamed Nasheed said that current cabinet ministers cannot be held accountable.

Speaking to his supporters in Maradhoo during his ongoing trip to Addu City, Nasheed stated that ministers were not being held accountable through the current system and due to that he has to hold his party, MDP accountable which is challenging.

He also added that it was very difficult for him to criticize his own party’s ministers in parliament and he hesitates to do so. Criticizing the current presidential governing system, Speaker Nasheed also told that ministers are free to do anything they want due to the lack of oversight on them through the current system in Maldives.

I have to hold our president accountable. I have to hold my ministers accountable. They’re from my party, they are my friends, they come after office and sit down with me. As such, I have to hold them accountable.

Speaker of Parliament and President of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Mohamed Nasheed

Nasheed went on to further criticize the presidential system stating that its a system which is only in America and not the system for democratic governance of a nation. He also added that progress cannot be made by fearing change.

This is Speaker Nasheed’s first public comments on the governing system after the Maldivian Democratic Party’s congress in last August in which Nasheed withdrew the decree for a constitutional referendum to change the political system of the Maldives from Presidential to Parliamentary at the last minute.

The decree submitted by Speaker Nasheed to the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) congress held from August 19 – 21, 2022, read that it has become difficult for a single party to win a presidential election and run the government with absolute rule due to the presidential election and election processes under the current constitution.

Nasheed, who received little support from his own party on his endeavor to make Maldives a Parliamentary system, withdrew the decree before it was opened for debate to the congress floor citing that an agreement was reached between him and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to discuss the matter further. 

He further stated that discussions between him and President Solih has been going on before the congress started and during the congress as well and that both of them decided that the congress was not the platform to debate on the governing system. 

The withdrawal of the decree came while President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih expressed his views opposing the establishment of a Parliamentary system in the Maldives, and has called for the withdrawal of the resolution in an interview he gave to a local media on August 16, 2022. 

“I believe after discussions with the president and other bodies of the party [MDP], we will be able to come up with ways which fits us all. There’s no question about this.

President of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Mohamed Nasheed

Nasheed’s proposed amendment to the constitution stated that the head of government would be the Prime Minister elected by the Parliament Members, and that the head of the state would be the President elected via presidential election.

Nasheed also called to determine in the constitution, the powers of the head of state and the powers and responsibilities of the President when the Prime Minister runs the country, as well as the representation of Parliamentary constituencies and the formulation of a “National List” of members based on the votes secured by parties in the Parliamentary elections.

Further, he also proposed to limit the number of Parliament member at a maximum of 87 and to determine that the government will be run by a Cabinet of Minister appointed among the Parliament Members. He also proposes to determine that the number of Supreme Court Justices be limited to 5.

Other proposed amendments included the determination of changes to be made to the structure of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), and to include the basic characteristics of the Decentralisation Act of Maldives in the constitution.

Speaker Nasheed has on multiple occasions pushed to convert the current presidential system to a parliamentary system. Nasheed had signed a petition of over 109,000 signatures previously, urging President Solih to convert the governance system to parliamentary.