Nasheed at a meeting of The Democrats. Dhauru Photo/ Hussain Sunain

Parliament to table govt referendum motion for Tue with MDP backing

"The Democrats’ parliamentary group confirms that the majority leader has agreed to expedite this work," he said.

18 September 2023

By Mariyam Umna Ismail

Parliament will begin debating on Tuesday a resolution calling for a public referendum to clarify the views of the people on the change of the system of government from presidential to parliamentary.

The Democrats, whose candidate MP Ilyas Labeeb finished third in the first round of the presidential election September 9 with about 15,000 votes, has conditioned a referendum on governance system on September 25 -- four days before the presidential runoff on September 30 -- for a coalition.

  • The referendum is already being discussed with the MDP

  • The Democrats’ talks with the PPM-PNC have come to a halt; because PPM-PNC does not want to sign an agreement

  • The Democrats' proposal is to conduct a public referendum on system change on September 25, ahead of the second round of the presidential election on September 30; They introduced a resolution in parliament on 13th of this month before going to the second round of elections

Before Monday's sitting was adjourned for the third time due to lack of quorum, speaker Mohamed Nasheed said the debate on the resolution was likely to start Tuesday.

“Since the house majority leader (MDP parliamentary group leader Mohamed Aslam) and the minority leader (PPM parliamentary group leader Ahmed Saleem) have agreed,” he said.

In addition, Nasheed announced that the MDP has agreed to expedite the work on the bill proposed by the Democrats to cap the number of members of parliament.

"The Democrats’ parliamentary group confirms that the majority leader has agreed to expedite this work," he said.

Speaking to Atoll Times on going for a referendum, Election Commission Vice-President Ismail Habeeb said on Monday that such a vote would require 28 or 30 days in preparation and regulations. While the law also sets a deadline for re-registration, Habeeb said it was his personal view that if the system-change vote was held on September 25, it would not be in accordance with the General Election Act.