Siyam: Parliament needs to approve ministers on democratic principle

MDA's president Ahmed Siyam Mohamed speaks to reporters outside the Parliament on January 28, 2024. (Photo/Infinite Moments/Moosa Nadheem)

Ahmed Siyam Mohamed, the president of the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), says that Parliament is required to grant approval to President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s cabinet ministers based on democratic principle.

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 parliamentary group of MDP – which holds a majority in the Parliament - convened for a meeting, during which it issued a three-line red whip to withhold support to four government ministers.

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.

Speaking from outside the Parliament, Siyam, the incumbent Meedhoo MP, told Sun that the ministers must be granted approval based on democratic principle.

He said that it was his party’s stand, as well as that of his own.

“I believe, and my party believes that, based on the principles of democracy, the Parliament must approve the president’s cabinet,” he said.

Siyam said that President Muizzu had defeated the former MDP administration in the 2023 elections by a huge margin, and that the ministers must receive support to execute his policies.

“This is a problem being forced upon the people, a problem for the country,” he said.

He urged fellow parliamentarians to approve the full cabinet.

MDP has decided it will not approve 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

Meanwhile, the Democrats, which announced an alliance with MDP last week, has 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.