Parliament today voted through a bill on determining atoll capital islands for a second time after President Mohamed Nasheed had returned the legislation for reconsideration.
A motion proposed by opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ali Azim to pass the bill again without any changes received 39 votes in favour from the 68 MPs present and voting, the bare minimum required to override a presidential veto.
Under article 91(b), a bill returned for reconsideration and passed by a majority of total membership of parliament has to be “assented by the President and published in the government gazette.”
According to the bill, atoll capital islands listed in the appendix of the constitution when it was ratified on August 7, 2008 shall retain their status unless decided otherwise by a two-thirds majority of an atoll council and approved through a public referendum.
The legislation also lays out a number of steps to be completed before relocation could be considered by atoll councils.
Following the local council elections in February, disputes over atoll administrative centres in Shaviyani and Kaafu atolls led to a tense standoff between islanders and riot police.