Protest breaks out, delaying cabinet approval vote

Pro-government lawmakers broke out in protest on Sunday, after the main ruling MDP – which holds a majority in the Parliament – decided it will withhold approval to four members of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s cabinet.

As lawmakers from the ruling PPM-PNC coalition protest inside the chambers, a crowd of pro-government supporters have also gathered outside the Parliament building.

The Parliament had been scheduled to take its vote on the 22-member new cabinet at 01:30 pm. But just ahead of the vote, the MDP parliamentary group convened for a meeting, during which it issued a three-line red whip to withhold support to four government ministers.

They are:

  • Ahmed Usham, attorney general
  • Mohamed Saeed, economic minister
  • Dr. Ali Haidar, housing minister
  • Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, Islamic minister

The whip was proposed by North Thinadhoo MP Abdul Mughnee.

Meanwhile, the Democrats, which announced an alliance with MDP last week, have decided they will not approve three of the ministers. But instead of Shaheem, they decided they will withhold support to Moosa Zameer, the foreign minister.

Current Parliament composition:

  • MDP: 43 MPs
  • Democrats: 13 MPs

Together, the two parties are represented by 56 out of 87 MPs at the Parliament. It is therefore highly unlikely that the ministers who got blacklisted by the parties will get approval.

The Parliament’s Government Oversight Committee had approved the cabinet in December, decided that all members of the cabinet meet the requirements stipulated in the constitution.

Earlier on Sunday, the ruling PPM-PNC issued a statement warning that it sees denial of approval to cabinet ministers as a deliberate move to impede the functioning of the government and a blatant disruption of public services.

President Muizzu made a formal request for the approval of his Cabinet on November 20, two days after the new administration took office.

The Parliament had been scheduled to vote on the Cabinet on December 18, but the original committee report was sent back to the committee. The committee later convened for a meeting during recess on December 30, during which they approved the cabinet.