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Page added on November 22, 2010

Parliament only approves 5 out of 12 ministerial appointees

Parliament only approves 5 out of 12 ministerial appointees thumbnail

After three weeks of stalemate, parliament today voted to approve five out of a dozen cabinet ministers reappointed by President Mohamed Nasheed in July, while MPs of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) boycotted the sitting before voting began.

Seven ministers – Finance Minister Ali Hashim, Education Minister Dr Musthafa Luthfy, Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed, Fisheries Minister Dr Ibrahim Didi, Home Minister Mohamed Shihab, Defence Minister Ameen Faisal and Attorney General Dr Ahmed Ali Sawad – did not receive a majority of votes from the 42 MPs in attendance.

The five ministers who won approval were Housing Minister Mohamed Aslam, Health Minister Aminath Jameel, Islamic Minister Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari, Human Resources Minister Dr Hassan Latheef and Economic Development Minister Mahmoud Razee.

Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair told Minivan News today that the cabinet will remain in place as “the only way to remove a minister is with 39 votes” through a no-confidence motion, pointing out that none of the seven nominees who failed to win consent received 39 votes against.

“No consent does not amount to no-confidence,” he explained, adding that today’s votes showed that “overall the Majlis has confidence in the cabinet.”

Zuhair said that the opposition parties failure to secure 39 votes “demonstrates splits” in their ranks.

The cabinet resigned en masse in June protesting the “scorched-earth policies” of parliament, accusing the opposition majority of corrupt practices, deliberate obstruction and attempts to wrest executive control from the government.

Aftermath

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, “Reeko” Moosa Manik, MDP parliamentary group leader revealed that he “asked the parliamentary group to remain silent even if the Speaker acts in violation of the rules and to leave the Majlis and step aside.”

Feydhoo MP Alhan Fahmy argued that after the Supreme Court ruled that article 171(e), which allows nominees to be interviewed by committee, could not be applied “the whole process has to be undone” since the invalidated provision was in place when the nominees were reviewed by the government oversight committee.

Appointing cabinet members was a “fundamental power” of the president under the constitution, said Alhan, adding that parliament had to pass no-confidence motions to dismiss the ministers who did not receive parliamentary consent.

“What we saw today in the Maldives parliament was a decision made in absence of the ruling party by the opposition party on their own,” he said. “I note that by this decision, instead of helping the administration govern, they have deliberately obstructed the government.”

Alhan condemned the opposition for “acting dictatorially” by “using parliamentary power irresponsibly” to dismiss ministers the DRP were unhappy with.

“I wonder if the DRP can give any justification as to why they did not give consent to [Attorney General] Dr Sawad,” he said. “For example, they can say something about not approving the Home Minister by talking about the police and what’s happening on the street. But why would they not give consent to Dr Sawad?”

Meanwhile, DRP MP for Galolhu South Ahmed Mahlouf dismissed the government’s as “the talk of madmen.”

Mahlouf argued that 39 votes were not needed to remove a minister as the constitution specifies that consent must be given by “MPs present and voting.”

“We voted for the people we believe are competent,” he said. “I do not believe the rest of them are ministers anymore. They should immediately give up their official cars and other state assets and they should not go to work tomorrow.”

While the MDP MPs maintain that Finance Minister Ali Hashim would still present the 2011 budget, Mahlouf claimed that he “certainly would not allow Ali Hashim to enter the Majlis.”

He further insisted that DRP’s voting reflected the will of the public and not personal prejudice: “[Defence Minister] Ameen Faisal was involved in the November 3rd coup and we tabled a no-confidence motion against [Education Minister] Luthfy when the cabinet resigned and Ali Hashim has sold our airport.”

He added that the opposition voted to approve ministers they believed were “competent and performing”, such as Housing Minister Mohamed Aslam and Islamic Minister Dr Bari.

“For example, we voted for Dr Bari because we believe that if we didn’t the President might appoint somebody like [Aishath] Velezinee (President’s member on the Judicial Services Commission) as Islamic Minister. We didn’t want to take that risk.”

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31 Comments on "Parliament only approves 5 out of 12 ministerial appointees"

  1. Bad Politics on Mon, 22nd Nov 2010 6:13 PM 

    Surely it is time that we had another Parliamentary election, this one fails daily in it’s due process to conduct itself even remotely intelligently.

    The speaker and deputy speaker are conducting some horrible circus that is costing us a nation, they should be thrown on the street like the crooks they are.

    It is all very well for DRP to play these stupid games but we the electorate are the ones footing their bill for doing nothing.

    All constituencies should judge whether their MP is actually working in the interests of the ones who voted for them.

    Also, why do we put up with absentees in the Majlis and some constantly abstaining from votes. I say 5 no-shows and your seat goes up for re-election, 3 abstentions and you get a check in the no-show box. Time for transparency and accountability of the Muppet Show that calls itself Parliament.

  2. earthling on Mon, 22nd Nov 2010 7:18 PM 

    agree with BadPolitics comment

  3. Mohd on Mon, 22nd Nov 2010 7:27 PM 

    President does not give reasons when nominating names for consent and the Legislature does not have to give reasons for refusing consent. That is how it is done in democracies. Even in the United States nominees for executive posts put forward by the President, do not always receive consent of the Legislature. In such democracies the President will not and cannot try to appoint such nominees who have been rejected by the legislature. We in the Maldives are still 100 years away from becoming a democracy.

  4. Hameed on Mon, 22nd Nov 2010 7:34 PM 

    It was MDP members who fought to include the consent clause in the constitution. The aim was to reject any undesirable ministers that Gayoom may try to appoint if he succeeded to retain power in the 2008 election.

  5. Hameed on Mon, 22nd Nov 2010 7:37 PM 

    balaga thiya hovee kee ubajjehi ministarun neh noontha?
    Mahloof ey kalo ah ganoonu asaasee dheyha veytha?
    mi akee barulamaanee nizaameh noon. mee riyasee nizaameh.
    qanoonu asaasee akee, kibi-kaani dhe aailaa ge echcheh noon. mee dhivehi jumhooriyya ge qaanooneh. remeber that!
    -Naifaru Hameed-

  6. Rasheed on Mon, 22nd Nov 2010 7:52 PM 

    Asking the President to run the country with a opposition appointed cabinet is ridiculous. This Majlis has prooved, yet again, they are not working for the good of the nation. I will hound my MP for justification on how he voted.

  7. Rinzy on Mon, 22nd Nov 2010 7:53 PM 

    It was Anni who started this by asking the cabinet to resign in the first place. Guess Anni made another blunder by getting MDP members to walk out of the Majlis today. If they did not walk out they could have turned the vote on atleast a few of the Ministers. This way they would not have to loose all 7 ministers if the Supreme court rules that Ministers who did not receive Majlis consent cannot retain their posts. Sad sad….

  8. Ali on Mon, 22nd Nov 2010 8:17 PM 

    time to kick these corrupt MPs out of parliament! all they do is destroy, destroy, destroy. What does the DRP – led by wet-blanket Thasmeen – actually stand for? nothing other than trying to wreck the country.

  9. Salley on Mon, 22nd Nov 2010 8:44 PM 

    Agree with Mohd. Funny how some people advocate US style democracy but when it comes to Legislative consent for executive appointees they try to use every other trick to avoid it.

  10. islam boy on Mon, 22nd Nov 2010 8:51 PM 

    Agree with Bad Politics. Money is hard earned by the poor people. So nobody shall be allowed to indulge in the monies of the people.

    The problem with kingdom is that they spend peoples money on one family. We seems to have a similar kind of situation with the majlis costing us 400000 each day and they do not have to worry about punctuality or any responsibility.

    There also has to be a way for the Majlis to be dismissed and fresh elections called. What has infected the current majlis is like cancer and the best way is to amputate the cancer infected organ.

  11. Idiot on Mon, 22nd Nov 2010 10:52 PM 

    One thing is, Minivan should be more accurate. Says “Seven ministers – … – did not receieve majority…” but only mentions 5 names.

    Funnily, another(very small point) is that Mahfool thinks he’s worthy to blab again:-)

    But it’s more noteworthy how the parliament, as a majority, is playing the game. Perhaps it’s because of the shady backgrounds of some power brokers in parliament, but it’s interesting to note that only untouchable or harmless or twistable Ministers were approved; any thorns rejected.

    But would we have 3 independent powers for democracy, with 1 power Directly electing/approving the next?

    On another note, commenting to a previous comment, we don’t have a whole lot of ‘intellectuals with expertise and interest for office’ (small population dho) to change nominies as and when we like, compared to US with over 250million people.

    Sadly a more taboo problem is that a lot of us have to cater for the high end politics(important political or rich figures), just like we cater for high end tourism market in our country.

    The mass are not important day to day; only when a vote comes; Executive or Parliamentary, (mainly a lame Judicial); which gives 5 years for them to work for the next vote.

    All our 3 pillars are engrossed forcibly or by wish, day to day, to fight for survival. Either because of selfishness, guilt, anger, or helping out!

  12. due process on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 12:28 AM 

    If a country can be run by raw opinions, anyone can say anything to ‘justify’ anything. Because there is no such thing as absolute truth, we have to lay a due process, called a constitution. Sometimes the process is fair, other times it is not.

    But just because few individuals did not pass for a job ( as it happens everyday), that should not be used to raise questions about the due process of employment. This case is not about whether the 7 people are qualified or not. It is about protecting a due process for the sake of 300,000 people vs 7 people who are desperate for a job. For the sake of a country, the 7 should move aside and let the country function.

  13. Andy on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 1:37 AM 

    @ Ali @ Islam

    The problem which we have in Maldives is not Majlis members neither the system but the President Nasheed who is unable to make compromises with the parliament who still does not want to digest the fact that legislature is one of the pillar of any democracy to maintain the “check and balance” of any presidential system. And I do strongly disagree when you implied that the Majlis deadlock is a waste to the people. This happens in any democracy and that’s how parliaments all over the world grappled to maintain the track of its obligations. See what happening in India now, an epitome of Asian democracy.

    The parliament has appointed by the people and there is no disagreement by the people about that except for some of the reneged MDP members (Alhan, Adhil…) who has betrayed their respective constituents. However, it is an apparent fact that Nasheed has betrayed the coalition and the end results would be what you see today. A leader who is a despotic and who has to mould and translate the law the way he wants it to be.

  14. Robin on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 2:18 AM 

    So, the government and MDP say ministers can be removed only by a no confidence vote.
    I agree to it.
    But the thing is these people – against whom we saw the vote today – were NOT ministers to begin with. They were only could-be-ministers.

    Constitution very clearly says ministers have to be approved by the Majilis after which only they will be legitimate ministers. Before that, they are not. So the talks about a no confidence vote apply only to those ministers approved by the Majilis. Not to could-be-ministers. Just because the process of approval by the Majilis has taken 4 months (mainly due to what the government did) that does not mean the could-be-ministers are to be treated as ministers.

    I think the decision by the Majilis, no matter how bitter it is for the government, should be respected. Otherwise the government will be no differnet form a dictatorship. If the decision of the Majilis will not be respected, tell me how Gayyoom’s governance was different.

    Moreover, in my view, any government which is run with 5 approved and 7 non approved misters, cannot be a credible government.

    We want to strengthen our institutions and system of governance. Not weaken these. So, dear goverment, please respect the decision by the Majilis. I am sure there are enough Maldivians who are capable of running these ministries. Also, I hope the government will keep capable and educated people and not necessarily activists on the top of their list.

  15. Robin on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 2:30 AM 

    @ Rasheed

    “Asking the President to run the country with a opposition appointed cabinet is ridiculous.”

    In other words, what you are saying is the constitution is ridiculous.
    There is no alternative to this.
    As long as the ruling party has a minority in the parliament, this is how it is going to happen. The only way to avoid this, is to win parliament majority. The government has to be really careful in what they do if they want a majority.

  16. Ahmed Bin Addu Bin Suvadheeb on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 3:49 AM 

    Isn’t it telling that Parliament only approved the most low profile of the Cabinet ministers? They rejected every single minister who is actually working for a better life for all of us.

    Shame on the bloody lot of these MPs. Time to get rid of them.

  17. Maldivian Mugabe on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 9:17 AM 

    Agreed Rinzy, Anni and blunder, goes hand in hand hahahhahhaaaa…simply put, nut taking over the nut-house ROFLMAO Jeeez why does he has to be such a nut-job every now and then, truly the Maldivian Mugabe…at least he was doing better in terms of stupidity

  18. Maldivian Mugabe on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 10:00 AM 

    @ Ahmed Bin Addu Bin Suvadheeb

    “Isn’t it telling that Parliament only approved the most low profile of the Cabinet ministers?”

    Wow now we have two very distinct class of cabinet ministers? But then why did you appoint such low profiles to the cabinet in the first place, Mr. President? Had not for your naive and over-stupidity, there never would have been no chance what so ever for the opposition to consent such low profiles to your high-esteem high profiled cabinet!! Don’t worry just sack those douche bags and never keep low profiles near you, if you can’t have a high profiled one then better not have any!!

    “They rejected every single minister who is actually working for a better life for all of us.”

    Thanks for the education on you’re part and for the acknowledgment that there actually are ministers who are not working for a better life for all of us. But isn’t that what we’ve been saying in the first place but sad that ‘better-life-seekers’ got sacrificed on the alter, too bad for you that MP’s do not have to reason out on who they cast there vote!! May be you should get elected to a seat and find out why al the lawmakers all over the globe get such immunities..n oh good luck with that :p

    “Shame on the bloody lot of these MPs. Time to get rid of them.”

    How very ingenious of you, I’m with you on this one. Do let me know how when you figure out how, i bet you gonna need a lot of luck on this one!! Ohh btw don’t fail to share you ingeniousness with the president, i suppose he desperately needs a piece of you mind

  19. hussein ali on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 10:25 AM 

    Its not a question of parliament costing our nation. its this entire system that is costing us our entire nation.

    I am vehemently against this whole separation of 3 powers and splitting a nation of nearly 400,000 people into 5,6.7 parties and ideologies and we all pretend everything will go smoothly.

    Maldives is just too small for this and we are making a big mistake experimenting such a system not to mention at such difficult times as we are in today.

    A benevolent dictator is the only way this country can be lead effectively. if not, we will forever be in deadlocks and witnessing a circus between all 3 powers whilst the public suffers from the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of govt and worse, government officials take advantage of this system and engage in corruption at the expense of the public and failure of govt.

  20. Isotope on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 10:38 AM 

    This scene is something that did not have to arise. It arose because of a blunder the president made. I hope he will not make another blunder to ‘rectify’ the previous one. But looking at what has been happening for the past two years or so, I cannot be optimistic even if I try.

  21. Ahmed on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 10:47 AM 

    Among the more common traits of Maldivians is that, everybody thinks he knows it all.

    We have 13 political parties for a population of 350K. The constitution was largely based to remove previous president. All the thorns and loop holes were set to facilitate syntactic arguments.

    What else can u expect?

  22. waleed on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 11:15 AM 

    What we all need is a new set of elections. Now the people know how things work with the new constitution. We need a new presidential election, a new parliament and maybe we need to decide again whether we need a presidential system or a parliament system.

    The real problem with this country is that there is nobody in the government, parliament or judiciary who really wants to do something beneficial for the people. Corruption level is so high during previous regime and with the current regime. The corruption in the parliament is in another level and also unbelievably open. Members are bought as if they are football players. These members again get on their new podiums and again speak on behalf of the people.

    This is never change.

  23. meekaaku on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 12:59 PM 

    @hussein ali on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 10:25 AM

    “A benevolent dictator is the only way this country can be lead effectively”

    Apparently we had such a dictator in Maumoon according to some. It didn’t turn out too well for others.
    Tell me, where do we find such benevolent dictators??

    The whole reason there is separation of powers is there is historical fact that when those are combined, it is more likely to become a totalitarian regime. Lets face it, humans are greedy people, and given power, they WILL abuse it. So whatever the system we put up, will have be in such a way that the powers are reduced or abuse is reduced.

    And no, even in the dictators (benevolent or not), the public is still paying the expenses. That is the nature of the state machinery. It exists as a necessary evil, which takes money from the public whether we like it or not. The question is do we get value for money? I say we don’t, but that does not negate that democracy and protection of the rights of people is goal worthy to try for.

  24. Fazna on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 1:27 PM 

    Hussain Ali – I think I agree with you. May be we need 1 single dictator to dictate us how to live life. Too much freedom is now spoiling us rotten. We just dont know to handle freedom just yet. Maybe in another 100 years we can start talking about democracy..

  25. islam boy on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 1:35 PM 

    there never was an issue with the ministers except their ‘symbolic’ resignation. What drp has done is to take advantage of the situation and arguing on a case where there is none. There is no substance to their claim because the ministers merit or qualification was not the issue to reject them.
    apart from that i would still like to say that none shall be able to indulge peoples money unjustly. if a parliament member doesn’t show up for work, he shall be exempt from pay for that day! just like any other honest worker.

  26. Radhun on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 2:02 PM 

    A Failed system nothing else to described more.

  27. celebrant on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 3:38 PM 

    The interesting thing is that the DRP (in opposition) are actually just shooting themselves in the foot.

    The US system is perhaps the most ungovernable system in the world as far as modern democracies go – but the reason why they flourish is because govt involvement in the economy and people’s lives were somewhat minimal. Furthermore, it was a federal system whereby many aspects of people’s lives (education, transport, taxes) were decided at different levels of politics – not just the national level.

    In a country like the Maldives – where 1/3rd of the country is employed by the state – where the fiscal deficit is at 26% – the government plays a much much larger role in people’s lives. Everything from electricity to food prices are affected by the Government – and as such, so many checks and balances on the action of a Government – is perhaps not the right way forward.

    The interesting issues will emerge in a few year’s time when the next set of elections come about. The President has signalled his (understandable but perhaps reckless) decision to keep spending in the islands and he will be seen to deliver the goods that people want. There would be limited evidence of the delivery of housing, a better airport, a transport network. While this may not be to the extent or coverage that people expected – the President can start blaming parliament for the fact that this was not broad enough.

    Parliamentarians on the other hand – would really have nothing to show for their records but constant bickering and arguments – and overall childish behaviour. I mean its not like they can say they increased spending or they helped the economy recover through lower taxes. They can show that the country is suffering – but by 2012 – the economy would have recovered and the MDP can take credit for this too.

    The only ‘executive’ and ‘leadership’ role in Parliament was played by Abdulla Shahid – who while respected across the board – would not be a candidate from the opposition. For Thasmeen, Yameen or Gasim, it is tough to look presidential when you are surrounded by the likes of Mahlouf, Umar Naseer and co!!

  28. Addu on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 4:35 PM 

    Whatever happens to the country our politicians, banks and businesses will keep pocketing the countries wealth.
    That’s how the world stage is set. From top to bottom. Instead of force and slavery, Democrazy is the modern tool.
    This is the new order.

    Maybe its time to agree with the opinion that things might be better than this with a benevolent dictator. During the previous 30 years selected groups benefited. Its the same now. Whats different is that, we were peaceful and secure.
    Now the power structure changed and the chosen ones became different. Plus the inherited chaos. Life was better with the so called dictator.
    Modern democracy came to the wrong generation in the wrong circumstances.

  29. a.a on Tue, 23rd Nov 2010 5:06 PM 

    This is what happens when we have a childish Government and an immature Opposition..

    I am still dumbfolded as to why Anni’s cabinet has to resign in the first place???

  30. Another Maldivian on Wed, 24th Nov 2010 12:02 AM 

    Could Minivan News please request Mr. Cox of UNDP to fly in Emergency Assistance to end this crisis in Government.

    I’d say a dozen Professors with their Politics 101 lectures would do the job.

    Just make sure at least one is from Azhar, and one is from IIUM.

  31. Isotope on Wed, 24th Nov 2010 12:35 AM 

    Why has this post reached the bottom of the page so soon?


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