Six Independent Maldivian MPs Join Ruling Party, Securing Supermajority

Six independent Maldivian MPs join ruling party, giving government supermajority and potential to align more closely with China.

Hadeel Hashem
New Update
Six Independent Maldivian MPs Join Ruling Party, Securing Supermajority

Six Independent Maldivian MPs Join Ruling Party, Securing Supermajority

Six independent members who won seats in the recent Maldivian parliamentary elections have officially joined the ruling People's National Congress (PNC) party. The new members include Dr. Anara Naeem (Huraa Constituency), Hassan Zareer (Mathiveri Constituency), Ahmed Zameer (Central Machangoalhi Constituency), Ahmed Riyaz (Thimarafushi Constituency), Yasin Abdulla (Naifaru Constituency), and Azim Abdul Azeez (Vilingili Constituency).

With the addition of these six members, the PNC now commands 72 seats in the 93-seat parliament. The total number of pro-government members will rise to 76 when including the seats of the JP, MDA, and MNP parties, giving the government an undeniable supermajority in the 20th Parliament without relying on the support of any other political parties.

The move by the six independent MP-elects to join PNC comes after the MDP majority Parliament passed an anti-defection bill on April 1, which stipulates that parliamentarians will lose their seat for floor crossing. The 20th parliamentary assembly will be sworn in on May 28.

Former Vice President of the Elections Commission Ismail Habeeb has stated that candidates who left the ruling PNC to contest independently in the parliamentary election cannot be disqualified for rejoining the party, as they have not violated the constitution and the Anti-defection Act. The Act allows for MP-elects to change parties without violating it as long as they do so within the time between becoming elected and swearing in as members of a new parliament.

Why this matters: The consolidation of power by President Mohamed Muizzu's PNC party in the Maldivian parliament has significant implications for the country's political landscape and foreign policy. With a supermajority, the PNC can push through legislation and shape the direction of the nation, potentially aligning more closely with China.

The six independent candidates had the support of the government during the recent elections. Habeeb expressed concerns about the lack of clarity in the Anti-defection Act regarding members who join a party before taking their oath of office. The PNC-led coalition now has more than two-thirds of the seats in Parliament, which is seen as a strong endorsement of Muizzu's pro-Beijing foreign policy.

Key Takeaways

  • 6 independent MPs joined Maldives' ruling PNC party, giving it 72/93 seats.
  • The move came before anti-defection law took effect, allowing MPs to switch parties.
  • PNC-led coalition now has 76/93 seats, a supermajority in parliament.
  • Consolidation of power may align Maldives more closely with China's foreign policy.
  • Concerns raised about lack of clarity in anti-defection law regarding pre-oath party switches.