All nine Lawmakers of the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People's National Congress (PNC) have today preemptively declared their opposition to ongoing attempts by the ruling MDP to steamroll a controversial amendment to the Constitution, reorganizing the structure of local governance in the country.
In a statement today, the opposition said that after legal accommodation of a lengthy postponement to the Local Council Elections in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government had proposed to amend the Constitution to centralize parts of the mandate of sitting Local Council officials until the election of their successors, which is earmarked for 2021.
The opposition rued the Infighting between the ruling party factions loyal to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and said that it led to unwarranted delays in enforcing an interim local governance framework.
It highlighted that with days left before the deadline, the Speaker sought the legal advice of the Supreme Court, a ruling for which was passed by the country’s top judicial tribunal in only twenty-four hours!
The opposition said that the ruling party, however, sought to manipulate and misuse the Supreme Court ruling by proposing a revised amendment to the Constitution, the boundaries of which extend well beyond the ruling.
It also accused the ruling parting of flexing their parliamentary supermajority muscle, through shortcuts and compromises that also violate parliamentary rules of procedure in an attempt to stream roll the motion in the 11th hour.
It noted that following the announcement by Speaker Nasheed that the motion to amend the Constitution is to be floated in Parliament at midnight of the 1st of June - the original start of a fresh local governance term, opposition lawmakers announced their decision to boycott tonight’s session to pass the controversial motion.
The opposition also said that the Progressive Congress Coalition MPs have vowed to remain steadfast in adherence to the Constitution, respect for the Supreme Court, and upholding the law.