Clashes erupt in Maldives Parliament during crucial vote on President Muizzu's Cabinet

The main Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) decided to withhold parliamentary approval for four members of President Muizzu’s Cabinet ahead of the voting on the Cabinet. File
| Photo Credit: AP

Clashes broke out in Maldives’ Parliament on January 28 between pro-government MPs and Opposition lawmakers over differences over the approval of four members of pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu‘s Cabinet.

The main Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) decided to withhold parliamentary approval for four members of President Muizzu’s Cabinet ahead of the voting on the Cabinet. Subsequently, pro-government MPs initiated a protest, obstructing the parliamentary sitting from proceeding, according to local media reports.

During the clash, an altercation occurred between Kanditheemu MP Abdulla Shaheem Abdul Hakeem Shaheem and Kendhikulhudhoo MP Ahmed Easa when the former tripped and knocked down Easa.

Mr. Shaheem had also sustained injuries on his head when the two parliamentarians fell near the chamber during the scuffle. Minority leader Moosa Siraj had attempted to stop the altercation.

Mr. Shaheem has now been taken to the hospital, according to the reports.

The decision of the Opposition MDP and The Democrats’ parliamentary group not to approve some members of President Muizzu’s Cabinet, has led to the ruling party Progressive Party of Maldives and People’s National Congress (PPM/PNC) coalition affiliated parliamentarians to disrupt parliament proceedings and enter the chambers of the Speaker, the report added.

A video viral on social media shows MPs gathered near the speaker’s chair and engaged in a physical altercation.

Meanwhile, Mathiveri Member of Parliament Hassan Zareer also sustained serious injuries on his finger. According to a parliamentarian, Zareer was injured during the scuffle between the members.

While the voting has been halted, pro-government supporters and officials are currently protesting outside the parliament, calling for the approval of Cabinet Ministers.

MDP, which has a majority in parliament, has decided not to vote to approve Attorney General Ahmed Usham, Minister of Housing, Land and Urban Development Dr. Ali Haidar, Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, and Minister of Economic Development and Trade Mohamed Saeed.

The Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the People’s National Congress (PNC) coalition have said that denying parliamentary approval to President Muizzu’s Cabinet will be tantamount to obstructing the services the government gives to citizens.

Meanwhile, the ruling PPM-PNC coalition has filed no-confidence motions against the Parliament’s Speaker Mohamed Aslam and Deputy Speaker Ahmed Saleem, news website reported.

The no-confidence motion stems from the stalled Cabinet approval. The coalition has accused Speaker Aslam of misusing his official capacity to complement the interests of a certain party, it said.

Soon after taking oath as the President of Maldives on November 17 last year, Mr. Muizzu, who is regarded as a pro-China leader, formally requested India to withdraw its military personnel from his country, saying the Maldivian people have given him a “strong mandate” to make this request to New Delhi.

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