Maldive's Prez Muizzu may face impeachment

In a big development that may sound music to Indian establishment, anti-India Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu is likely to face impeachment proceeding in the Parliament. The main opposition party Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which holds a majority in the Maldivian Parliament, is planning to submit a motion to impeach President Mohamed Muizzu, according to local media outlet The Sun.

This comes a day after clashes broke out in Parliament between the pro-government MPs and opposition leaders on differences over the approval of four members of the pro-China President’s cabinet.

The MDP, in collaboration with the Democrats, has obtained the support of 34 members, including representatives from both parties. The motion for impeachment was disrupted yesterday due to chaos in the Maldivian parliament. The MDP has also decided to deny approval to the home minister, Ali Ihusan, and the defense minister, Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon, if government lawmakers continue to disrupt the proceedings.

Muizzu, aged 45, emerged victorious in the presidential runoff in September, defeating the incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, known for his friendly relations with India. After being sworn in as the President of Maldives on November 17, Muizzu formally urged India to withdraw 88 military personnel from his country by March 15, citing a “strong mandate” from the Maldivian people.

Recently, the Parliament, comprising 87 members, modified its standing orders to simplify the process of submitting an impeachment motion. The coalition of MDP and Democrats holds 56 MPs, with 43 from MDP and 13 from Democrats, meeting the constitutional requirement for impeachment with 56 votes.

Following a skirmish between political leaders inside the parliament, heavy police security has been deployed to ensure the safety of today’s session. Videos shared by the media outlet show police personnel assembling outside the parliament complex. The violence in parliament occurred during a key vote on parliamentary approval for the Muizzu government.

A fight broke out between MDP MP Isa and PNC MP Abdullah Shaheem Abdul Hakeem, with footage showing physical altercations between the two. One video shows Shaheem gripping Isa’s leg and the two falling together, while another viral video shows Isa kicking Shaheem’s neck and pulling his hair. One member of parliament was reportedly injured and taken to an ambulance.

The ruling coalition parties, the PNC and the PPP, released a statement expressing concern over the refusal to approve the ministers, stating that it hampers the delivery of public services. However, Chief Advisor to Muizzu and PNC Chairman Abdul Raheem Abdullah criticized the refusal as irresponsible. Recently, two opposition parties, the MDP and the Democrats, criticized the current regime’s anti-India pivot, deeming it detrimental to the country’s long-term development. They emphasized the importance of stability and security in the Indian Ocean for the Maldives and called for consecutive governments to maintain good relations with development partners for the benefit of the people.

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William Murphy

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