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Maldives Parliament set to vote on extending emergency by 30 days

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives has announced the extraordinary session of the People’s Majlis to vote on President Yameen’s decree on the emergency and has issued a whip to its lawmakers to ensure its passage.

world Updated: Feb 20, 2018 23:33 IST
Rezaul H Laskar
Rezaul H Laskar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Progressive Party of Maldives,Maldives,People’s Majlis
Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen surrounded by his bodyguards arrives in Male on February 3, 2018.(AP)

A session of the Parliament in the Maldives is set to vote on Tuesday on President Abdulla Yameen’s proposal to prolong a state of emergency by 30 days even as India called for the measure not to be extended so the political process in the island nation could resume.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) announced the extraordinary session of the People’s Majlis to vote on Yameen’s decree on the emergency. The PPM issued a whip to its lawmakers to ensure the passage of the decree.

The 15-day emergency imposed by Yameen on February 5 is set to expire on Tuesday and he has sought the Parliament’s approval on Monday for a 30-day extension. Though a parliamentary committee approved the move during a meeting behind closed doors, opposition lawmakers stalled a vote by boycotting Parliament.

The Maldives’ Constitution states that more than half the 85 members of Parliament need to be present for a decision that affects the people. The opposition MPs said a vote to pass the decree cannot be held without the presence of at least 43 MPs, SunOnline reported.

Only 39 pro-government MPs were present in Parliament on Monday and the opposition has said the government will not be able to gather 43 MPs needed to hold the vote.

However, a PPM MP told SunOnline the party had received legal advice that 43 MPs do not need to be present for the vote to take place.

It was also not clear whether opposition MPs would also boycott Tuesday’s session of the Parliament.

In New Delhi, the external affairs ministry said in a statement: “It is our expectation that the government of Maldives will not be seeking extension of the state of emergency so that the political process in Maldives can resume with immediate effect.”

The statement added, “After the revocation of the emergency, democratic institutions including the judiciary should be allowed to function independently and in a fair and transparent manner in accordance with the Constitution.”

India also called for the implementation “in letter and spirit” of the order issued by the Supreme Court of the Maldives on February 1 that quashed charges against nine top opposition leaders, including former president Mohamed Nasheed, and the reinstatement of 12 disqualified lawmakers.

“It is important that Maldives quickly returns to the path of democracy and the rule of law so that the aspirations of Maldivian people are met and the concerns of the international community are assuaged,” the statement said.

First Published: Feb 20, 2018 16:52 IST