MDP Says Presidential Appointees Should Change

MDP Says Presidential Appointees Should Change

President Elect Mohamed Nasheed (Anni) will appoint new presidential appointees to the People's Majlis (parliament) once he's sworn in, spokesperson Ibrahim Hussein Zaki has said on Sunday.

"The eight members represent the President. We believe that when the president changes those eight members will also change. The members will be those that the president trusts," Zaki said.

However the transitional chapter of the country's new constitution ratified on August 7 stipulates the current parliament will exist until a new parliament is elected in February.

Article 294 (a) says, "The People's Majlis in existence at the commencement of this Constitution shall continue until such time as the first elections of the People's Majlis under this Constitution are held, and election of members and assumption of office by the members."

It does not specify whether appointees should change in accordance with the president, and it is therefore unclear whether the party will have the legal backing to do this.

Attorney general Azima Shukoor said she did not know about the legality of the move. "It's a decision between the president and the president-elect," she said.

Government's Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) currently commands a majority in parliament with 27 of the 50 MPs belonging to DRP; these include the presidential appointees.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to which Anni belongs has long contested that presidential appointees are undemocratic.

But Zaki at Sunday's press conference to brief the media on transitional arrangements said: "We believe the eight members appointed by the president have to stay under the law until a new parliament is elected."

But he did not confirm that the party would definitely abolish the system of presidential appointees.

President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who lost the runoff round of elections by 45.79% of the vote, last changed the appointees on the eve of constitutional ratification.

Zaki says it is not decided whether the appointees will be from the MDP or MDP Alliance of opposition groups that backed Anni for presidency in the runoff round of presidential elections.

"Even though a decision has not been made yet, this administration will not do anything that will cost us the trust of the coalition," he says.

Technical committees of the MDP Alliance are currently meeting with permanent secretaries of government ministries to arrange for a smooth transition.

At a Friday press conference, president of the Civil Service Commission Dr. Mohamed Latheef pledged the support of the CSC to the new administration.

Zaki says the coalition advocates small government and as such hope to reduce the number of ministries to 13 or 14.

"We will provide details on number of cabinet posts, ministers very soon," he promised.

Addressing the employees of the civil service and government companies, Zaki said, "with the change in administration, do not think there will be negative effects on your jobs."

The MDP Alliance has now set up office at the government provided house Hilaaleege.

Source: Minivannews

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