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Speaker: Supreme Court cannot dictate how Parliament is run

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Not even the Supreme Court has the authority to dictate how the Parliament is run, said Speaker Mohamed Aslam on Sunday, three days after the top court ordered the suspension of a controversial amendment to the legislative body’s standing orders.

The amendment in questioned lowered the votes required to impeach the president and vice president – granting opposition lawmakers the power to impeach President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, if they wish.

The Attorney General’s Office filed a case with the Supreme Court over the amendment on January 28.

On February 8, the court issued an injunction suspending the amendment until it makes a final ruling.

Opening Sunday’s sitting, Aslam – who served as the main opposition MDP’s top lawmaker before he was elected as Speaker in December – said that despite the temporary order, the Supreme Court has not established whether the amendment is unconstitutional.

Aslam said that he found it concerning, and opened the floor for a one-hour debate for lawmakers to discuss a course of action.

“I also announce that in adherence to the court order, the total number of parliamentarians will be counted as 87, until determined otherwise,” he added.

Aslam said that it will be the Parliament itself that dictates how it should function.

The constitution is clear that this is a power vested in the Parliament, he said.

“I therefore do not believe that any other institute or power of the state has the authority to dictate how the Parliament is run. It will be decided by the honorable members of this Parliament,” he said.

He said that the total number of parliamentarians will be counted as 87, until the parliamentarians determine otherwise.

He said a decision will be made before the sitting proceeds.

The constitution declares that an impeachment motion against the president or vice president requires the vote of two-thirds of the Parliament.

Seven lawmakers resigned from the Parliament in November, to assume top positions in President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s administration. But the Elections Commission decided against holding by-elections, so close to the parliamentary elections.

Taking advantage of the situation, the MDP – which holds a majority in the Parliament – amended the Parliament’s standing orders so that vacated seats aren’t counted when determining the total number of MPs.

Therefore, the Parliament currently requires 54 votes to impeach President Muizzu, instead of the previous 58, as according to the amendment to the standing orders, the total number of MPs is now 80, instead of 87.

The MDP and its ally Democrats have 56 MPs between them; 43 MPs from MDP, and 13 from Democrats.

They therefore have the power to impeach the president, if they wish.

The MDP has warned they plan on filing a motion to impeach President Muizzu before the current term ends in May.

Source(s): sun.mv

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Maldives announces efforts to secure seat in UNSC

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President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has announced Maldives’ efforts to secure a seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the Economic and Social Council, emphasising that Small Island Developing States (SIDs), despite their small size, have the power to shape their futures and drive change. He made the remarks speaking at the opening ceremony of the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4).

Welcomed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Prime Minister Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne, President Muizzu highlighted the need for SIDS to evaluate their achievements since the first roadmap was developed at the 1994 SIDS Summit in Barbados. This year marks the 30th anniversary of that landmark event.

In his address, President Muizzu pointed out the persistent challenges faced by SIDS, including poverty, increasing natural disasters, and environmental degradation. He also noted the growing debts, inequality, and injustice that undermine the hopes and confidence of the international community. “Our vulnerabilities should not be our downfall. They should be our armour. Our rallying call”, declared President Muizzu.

He called for the international community’s cooperation in providing guidance and support to SIDS, stressing the need for these nations to take a leading role in various activities. Key areas of focus should include increasing investments, strengthening institutional governance, and enhancing integrity and accountability in governments.

President underscored that SIDS can only become a powerful force in the international community if everyone stand together and lead by example in development and progress. He expressed confidence that through collective effort, SIDS can achieve their goals and objectives.

The SIDS4 Seminar, themed “Charting the Course Towards Resilient Prosperity,” brings together leaders and stakeholders from various sectors to discuss sustainable, prosperous, and vibrant futures for small island developing countries.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Government stresses importance of digital health in island nations

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Minister of Health Dr. Abdulla Khaleel has underscored the paramount importance of digital health for small island nations like the Maldives during one of the forums at the 36th Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting (36CHMM).

The Commonwealth, an international association of 56 member states, promotes cooperation and supports economic, social, and human rights development within member countries.

The 36CHMM is convened under the theme “Actionable Solutions to Building Resilience in Healthcare Systems within the Commonwealth, with an Emphasis on Small and Vulnerable States.” This theme further aims to address the healthcare challenges faced by vulnerable countries.

Representing the Maldives, Minister Khaleel emphasised the necessity of easy access to healthcare facilities in island countries and the efficient use of digital health systems, highlighting how the rapid transfer of patient information between health centers can expedite healthcare services.

Moreover, Minister Khaleel also detailed the Maldives’ ongoing efforts to achieve a comprehensive digital health system, aiming to enhance ease and convenience in the healthcare sector. The Maldives has submitted six proposals at the 36CHMM, focusing on policies that promote general health and ongoing initiatives to facilitate these goals. The minister noted that increasing early health screenings and the provision of health information could significantly reduce state expenditures on disease prevention.

Further discussions initiated by Minister Khaleel addressed making healthcare facilities safe from environmental hazards and improving the quality and retention of healthcare workers through increased community participation. These measures aim to substantially enhance overall general health.

The forum also discussed the impact of global environmental changes on health, stressing the need for renewable energy sources. Minister Khaleel urged stronger nations to support small, vulnerable countries, suggesting that the allocation of climate funds should consider the Multi Dimensional Vulnerability Index, rather than relying solely on Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Accompanying Minister Khaleel were Minister of State for Health Khadeeja Abdul Samad Abdulla and two officials from the Ministry of Health and the Health Protection Agency (HPA). Minister Khaleel traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, for the 36CHMM and the World Health Assembly, which began on May 23.

Notably, the 77th World Health Assembly is slated to take place on May 28.

Source(s): PsmNews

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President calls world leaders to unite to end Gaza genocide

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President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has voiced out the urgent need for international action to address the escalating conflict in the Middle East.

Beginning his national address at the opening of the Plenary session, President Muizzu drew attention to Israel’s continued defiance of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) order to halt its attacks on the Palestinian people in Rafah. He called on world leaders attending the conference to unite in their demand for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

“As we speak, Israel is defying the ICJ’s order to immediately halt its attack on the Palestinian people in Rafah,” President Muizzu stated. “We, the world leaders at this Conference, must unite in calling on Israel to stop the war. Stop the apartheid. And stop the genocide immediately.”

Highlighting the shared vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States to climate change, President Muizzu expressed empathy with Palestine, noting that both feel marginalized by the international system. He stressed the necessity for Israeli leaders to face justice and be held accountable for their actions.

President Muizzu’s remarks underscored the gravity of the situation in Rafah and the broader implications for international peace and security. His call to action resonated with the conference’s theme of resilience and collaboration, urging global leaders to stand together against injustice and violence.

The SIDS4 conference, which brings together leaders and stakeholders from Small Island Developing States, serves as a crucial platform for addressing not only regional issues but also pressing global challenges. President Muizzu’s impassioned plea highlighted the interconnectedness of global peace efforts and the need for a unified response to crises affecting any part of the world.

The conference, themed “Charting the Course Towards Resilient Prosperity,” aims to foster sustainable development and resilience among small island nations. However, President Muizzu’s remarks poignantly reminded attendees that achieving these goals requires a collective stand against all forms of oppression and violence, wherever they occur.

Source(s): PsmNews

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