MDP Chairperson Fayyaz Ismail speaks at a press conference held at the party office. Dhauru Photo/ Azmy Ahmed

Opposition calls on govt to seek public opinion to change system

He added that the changes proposed by this government do not seem to be sincere.

8 July 2024

By Shahudha Mohamed

Opposition Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) Chairman Fayyaz Ismail has said that he believes that some aspects of the governing system should be changed, but it should be done based on the opinion and consultation of the people.

Speaking at a rally held by the ruling main party PNC on Sunday, President Mohammed Muizzu announced major changes in some aspects of the government system to reduce expenditure. He said he had decided to:

  • Amend the Constitution to keep the number of members of Parliament at 77

  • Amend laws to reduce the size of local councils and the number of councillors

  • Amend the Constitution to hold presidential and parliamentary elections simultaneously

Fayyaz, who was also the Economic Minister in the previous government, on Monday posted on 'X' in response to the President’s statements. According to Fayyaz:

  • The people's opinion and consultation should be sought before reducing the number of councillors and MPs

  • Instead of trying to ‘take a double headed bull by the horns’, it is important to do what can be done now

“When ministers say that the finances are good, but the common people have to take a bitter pill, even if the finances and the economy are good, the people, investors and financiers will lose confidence and things could go in a bad direction,” Fayyaz said.

He added that the changes proposed by this government do not seem to be sincere.

He followed that with some things that he believes should be done now if the government is indeed acting with sincere intentions. These include:

  • The government should announce how it will pay for businesses and students abroad

  • Disclosure of facts and circumstances as was promised before to gain confidence

  • Disclosure of the number of political employees, and the reduction of political employees in accordance with the President's promise before the reduction of rural councillors

"It is not difficult to disclose these things and the government should have the information. If it does not know, then it is something to worry about," Fayyaz said.

He assured that the MDP would welcome strong changes that the people would accept. However, there is no progress for the country by keeping the financial situation ambiguous, he said.

With the government announcing major changes on Sunday, MDP President Abdullah Shahid has also rejected some of these changes.

In an X post on Sunday evening, he accused the government of trying to reduce the number of island councillors to undermine the power of the people.

“In the infancy of decentralisation, we cannot agree to deprive the people of their power and concentrate the power of rural administration from the ivory tower in the city,” Shahid, who was Foreign Minister in the MDP government for the past five years, said.