Mal­dives op­po­si­tion launches a new bid to seize par­lia­ment

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Mal­dives op­po­si­tion par­ties yes­ter­day launched a new bid to seize con­trol of par­lia­ment through a third at­tempt to im­peach the speaker. An op­po­si­tion coali­tion said it had submitted a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion with the sup­port of 45 MPs-enough to force a vote in the 85-mem­ber ma­jlis, or par­lia­ment. The main op­po­si­tion Mal­di­vian Demo­cratic party (MDP) said the coali­tion now has a ma­jor­ity in the cham­ber. “Forty five sig­na­tures means we, the op­po­si­tion coali­tion, now com­mand par­lia­ment ma­jor­ity,” MDP leg­is­la­tor Eva Ab­dulla said.

A pre­vi­ous at­tempt to im­peach Speaker Ab­dulla Masheeh in April failed when the num­ber of sig­na­tures re­quired for a no-trust mo­tion against the speaker was raised to 50 per­cent of the house, up from one third. The first at­tempt to im­peach Masheeh in March ended in chaos when Pres­i­dent Ab­dulla Yameen or­dered troops to eject some law­mak­ers from par­lia­ment. That prompted the United States to urge the Mal­dives to re­store faith in democ­racy. The op­po­si­tion coali­tion, led by ex­iled for­mer Mal­dives pres­i­dent Mo­hamed Nasheed, is try­ing to un­der­mine Yameen be­fore elec­tions next year.

The op­po­si­tion faces an up­hill strug­gle, with all their key lead­ers out of the coun­try or in jail af­ter a years-long crack­down on dis­sent un­der Yameen’s lead­er­ship. The clam­p­down has raised fears over sta­bil­ity and dented the Mal­dives’ im­age as a tourist par­adise. Nasheed has said that con­trol­ling the leg­is­la­ture is cru­cial to en­sur­ing a free and fair pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in 2018. Nasheed be­came the coun­try’s first demo­crat­i­cally-elected pres­i­dent in 2008, but was nar­rowly de­feated by Yameen in a con­tro­ver­sial 2013 elec­tion run-off. In 2015, he was sen­tenced to 13 years in prison on ter­ror­ism charges that were widely seen as po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated. He now lives in ex­ile in Bri­tain. —AFP

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