The Maldives parliament witnessed unruly scenes on Sunday as key proceedings were disrupted when the ruling alliance clashed with opposition lawmakers.The clash broke in a special session convened to seek parliamentary approval for the ministers in president Mohamed Muizzu’s cabinet, reported Sun Online.
Pro-government lawmakers of the People’s National Congress (PNC), and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) erupted in protest after the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), led by former president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, which commands a majority in Parliament, opted to withhold approval for four members of president Mohamed Muizzu’s cabinet, said the local news outlet.
Men in suits and ties heave at one another like madmen. They punch, kick, push and jostle. All this took place on the floor of Maldivian parliament, where a key vote on parliamentary approval for the Mohamed Muizzu government was scheduled for today.
In one of the videos, which is now in wide circulation on the internet, an MP is seen clutching a fellow MP’s leg and the two taking a tumble together.
One of them then comes back and puts his knee on the other one and is seen pulling his hair, showed another clip. The footage also shows other members trying to push the MP away.
The two men seen in the fight are Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Isa and ruling PNC MP Abdullah Shaheem Abdul Hakeem. In another video, the MP is seen blowing a horn into the speaker’s ear, who tries to block the noise by putting his hands to his ear.
Reports say several ruling party members barricaded the House and disrupted the session.
Impeachment motion against President Mohamed Muizzu
The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the country’s main Opposition party holding a parliamentary majority, is preparing to submit an impeachment motion against President Mohamed Muizzu in Parliament, stepping up its challenge to the Executive in the legislature.
“We have the numbers,” said Andhun Hussein, deputy leader of the MDP parliamentary group.
The development coincides with a showdown between Male and New Delhi, in the wake of derogatory remarks made by Maldivian Ministers, a shrill “Boycott Maldives” call on Indian social media, and President Muizzu issuing a March 15 deadline to New Delhi, for the removal of Indian troops.
On what prompted the move for an impeachment motion, less than three months after President Muizzu was sworn in, the Opposition politician pointed to “two primary reasons”.
“The President is putting the Indian Ocean Region in danger with his policies, and he is not letting the Parliament function properly, using money power and with the backing of the military,” Mr. Hussein said, a day after the Parliament or People’s Masjid witnessed violent clashes between legislators from the ruling camp and the Opposition. They sparred over parliamentary approval of President Muizzu’s Cabinet.
The MDP, which has 42 seats in the 80-member People’s Majlis, appears to have joined forces with The Democrats — with 13 seats — formed by its breakaway faction, following former President Mohamed Nasheed’s fallout with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih last year. In an indication of the two sides finding common cause, the MDP and The Democrats recently issued a joint statement slamming President Muizzu for “alienating” the Maldives’s “most long-standing ally”. Meanwhile, at least 12 MPs from the MDP have crossed over to the ruling People’s National Congress, boosting its presence in the legislature to 16 MPs, Maldivian news portal Avas reported on Sunday.
With parliamentary elections scheduled for March 17, President Muizzu has a crucial test ahead. Without adequate parliament backing, he will not be able to pass legislation or implement policies. Mr. Muizzu’s position has further weakened politically, after his former boss, President Yameen, split from the ruling party to form his own, reflecting a rather fragmented Maldivian polity.