Bill on Prosecutor General ratified
3rd Sept: President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has yesterday ratified the Prosecutor General's Bill, passed by the People's Majlis on 31 August. Following ratification, the Bill has been published in the Government Gazette.
This law specifies how the Prosecutor General should be appointed, as well as the responsibilities, powers, qualifications and responsibilities of the Prosecutor General.
This law would come into effect from the day the bill was ratified and published in the Government Gazette.
Many amendments to General Elections Bill proposed
3rd Sept: Majlis members yesterday at its 44 th sitting continued the second reading of the General Elections Bill. During the plenary discussion 14 members spoke on the Bill and numerous amendments were proposed.
In presenting the Bill Legal Reform Minister Nasheed said that the elections held under the constitution or under specific legislations shall conform to the provisions stipulated in the Bill and that the Bill provides a general guidelines on the elections. However specific elections must conform to specific legislations of the constitutions. Nasheed revealed that Bill was formulated with the assistance and advice of international technical experts, including Commonwealth and European Union. Nasheed also revealed that Bill grants the right to raise complaints to election observers.
Speaking on the Bill during the plenary debate, Thaa atoll MP Mohamed Shareef said that the Bill is an important bill from a series of Bills being submitted to the Majlis. However he said articles 31, 43 and 58 needs to be amended.
President's member Ruzaina Adam said certain spelling errors and typos need to be corrected while MP for Laamu atoll Moosa Manik recommended that the Bill must specify that polling center are where the ballot boxes are kept. He also recommended including an extra clause to article 33 of the bill.
MP for Ga atoll Abdulla Jabir noted an election has never been held in this country in a free and a democratic environment and that some aspects of the bill need to be amended.
MP for Hdh atoll Ahmed Abdulla expressed his support for the Bill and said all eligible voters must be able to participate in the voting. He also expressed that counting of votes must be very transparent.
President's member Ahmed Mahloof said that Bill should give priority to include security issues and that with minor amendments the Bill shall be complete.
MP for Faafu atoll Ahmed Hamza noted that results of elections should be revealed at polling center and if any body is proven of trying to change the election results severe punishments should be given. Thaa Atoll MP Hassan Afeef said only people who are registered at polling stations can cast their votes in the ballot box kept those particular polling stations and that citizens with ID cards should be allowed to vote.
The intent of the Bill proposed by the government is to ensure the elections held under the constitution are free and fair in a democratic environment with clear guidelines.
Maldives participates in Investment Expo
4th Sept: The Maldives has participated in the Fourth China- Jilin North East Asia Investment Expo, which is being held from the 2nd to 6th September 2008, foreign ministry has revealed.
The Expo, organized by China's Ministry of Commerce, was opened by the Deputy Premier, Wanq Qi Shan, at the International Conference and Exhibition Center in Chanchung of the Jilin Province. The main aim of this event is for the business community to showcase and provide information on the investment opportunities available to prospective investors.
Foreign Ministry has revealed that Maldives is hosting a stall in the exhibition. The Maldives will be promoting tourism, fisheries, and other potential opportunities for investment in the country. Documentaries of the Maldives were shown at the Expo, and sample products made in the Maldives were also distributed.
Sixty-nine countries are participating in the Expo, and some of the high-profile figures present include, South Korea's former Prime Minister, Armenia's Deputy Prime Minister, and the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, foreign ministry said.
Majlis passes Judicial Services Bill
4th Sept: People's Majlis yesterday at its 45 sitting of the second session passed the Judicial Services Bill.
At the sitting 5 amendments were proposed and seconded under clause (a) of article 56 of the Majlis Standing Orders. However members who proposed 2 of the amendments withdrew their proposed amendments and as such 3 amendments were put to vote. The 3 amendments were passed with Majlis majority with 34 out of 37 members voting in favor.
During the opportunity opened to clarify any queries members may have regarding the Bill, MP for Mulak atoll Aneesa Ahmed pointed that the Bill lacks procedures that may be taken against a member of the Judicial Services Commission who violates the code of ethics stipulated by the Bill.
Legal Reform and Information Minister Mohamed Nasheed said that it was important bill to pass the bill and that a separate bill on the courts will be submitted to the Mjalis soon.
Judicial Services Bill stipulates provides for an independent Judicial Services Commission. The Bill stipulates the responsibilities, duties and work scope of the Judicial Services Commission. The Bill also stipulates, among other things, the code of ethics of the members of the judicial services commission.
Yesterday's sitting was attended by 37 members was chaired by Speaker of the Majlis Mohamed Shihab.
Foreign Minister congratulates new UN Human Rights Chief
4th Sept: Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, yesterday has congratulated the new UN Human Rights Chief Navanethem Pillay, on the commencement of her four-year term, according to a statement issued from Foreign Ministry. Navanethem Pillay from South Africa took over from Louise Arbour who stepped down earlier in the year and whose tenure coincided with a significant strengthening of relations between the Maldives government and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
According to Foreign Ministry Minister Shahid in his letter highlighted the important role the High Commissioner's Office plays in the UN system. Minister went on to say that Pillay was the ideal candidate for the UN Human Rights Office due to life-long commitment to the cause of human rights in Africa and around the world.
Reflecting on the relationship between the Maldives and the OHCHR and future engagements, Minister stated that strengthened engagement with OHCHR over the past two and a half years has coincided with and contributed directly to immense changes in the human rights landscape of the Maldives. Steps such as agreeing to base an OHCHR Human Rights Advisor in the Maldives, extending a standing invitation to UN special procedures, and strengthening reporting procedures through the compilation of a Common Core Document have all had appreciable and measurable effects on the promotion and protection of human rights in the country, Minister said.
Noting the recent ratification of the Maldives' new Constitution, Minister Shahid stressed that "much work remains to be done if we are to successfully and fully integrate the rights laid down by the new Constitution into every aspect of Maldivian life and society". "Strengthening the legal framework is only a first step down a much longer road, and I hope that the Maldives can continue to rely on the support and assistance of you and your Office over the coming years" he concluded.
Foreign Ministry reports that Pillay has spent the last five years as a judge on the International Criminal Court in The Hague and previously served eight years with the International Criminal Tribunal Court for Rwanda (ICTR), serving also as its President for four years. She was also the first woman to begin a law practice in the Natal Province of South Africa. Pillay, born in South Africa has led a vibrant and active civic life, having extensive experience in campaigning for human rights, working early on as a grassroots defense attorney for the protection of anti-apartheid campaigners and trade unionists, in addition to her work in promoting women's rights, and issues related to children, detainees, victims of torture and domestic violence.
Bill on Judicial Services Commission ratified
5th Sept: President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has ratified the Judicial Service Commission's Bill, was passed by the People's Majlis yesterday, according to a statement from the President's Office. Following ratification, the Bill has been published in the Government Gazette.
The Judicial Services Bill provides for an independent and impartial Judicial Service Commission.
The powers of the Judicial Service Commission include the appointment, promotion and transfer of judges other than the Chief Justice and Judges of the Supreme Court; to make recommendations to the President on the appointment of the Chief Justice and judges of the Supreme Court; to investigate complaints about the judiciary, and to take disciplinary actions against them, including recommendations for dismissal. In addition, the Commission's powers include, making rules regarding schemes for recruitment and procedures for the appointment of judges, and the ethical standards of judges.
This law will be effective from yesterday, as the bill has been ratified and published in the Government Gazette.
Interim Election Commission formed
5th Sept: People's Majlis , yesterday at its 46 th sitting of the second session endorsed the 5 member Interim Election Commission to be formed under the constitution ratified on the 7 th of last month .
The Majlis out of the seven nominees proposed by Political Parties endorsed the 5 member list proposed by Baa atoll MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and supported by Vaavu MP Abdulla Shahid. The list comprises of Dhivehi Rahyithunge Party (DRP) nominee Mohamed Ibrahim of H.Noomuthee , Maldives Social Democratic Party (MSDP) nominee Mohamed Mahir of M Oceania Irumatheebai, People's Party nominee Fuadh Thaufeeq of M. Thalamudhige, Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) nominee Ahmed Shahid of Ma Chabeyleege and Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) nominee Ali Faiz of Ma. Manaage.
The 5 member Election Commission was formed out of the 3 sets of 5 member lists proposed. The proposed by DRP and endorsed by the Majlis did not include Jumhoory Party's nominee Ibrahim Mohamed of H Hikigulalaage and Social liberal Party (SLP)'s nominee Hussain Shameem of H. Shady Corner. The list proposed by MP for Fuvahmulah Mohamed Ibrahim Didi on behalf of Jumhoory Party did not include nominees of Social Liberal Party and People's Party. The list proposed by Male' MP Ibrahim Ismail (Ibra) on behalf on Social Liberal Party did not include nominees of Social Liberal Party and People's Party.
The list proposed by DRP was passed with two thirds of the majority, 34 members out of 48 present at the Majlis voted in favor of endorsing the list. 12 members voted against while one member abstained.
The list proposed by MP for Fuvahmulah Mohamed Ibrahim Didi includes Ahmed Shahid , Ali Faiz, Mohamed Ibrahim , Mohamed Mahir and Ibrahim Mohamed.
The list proposed by Male' MP Ibrahim Ismail (Ibra) comprises of Mohamed Ibrahim, Ali Faiz, Hussain Shameem, Ahmed Shahid and Ibrahim Mohamed.
Before voting on the Election Commission, Majlis considered the report of the ad hoc committee formed to screen the nominees proposed by Political Parties.
In presenting the report MP for Faafu atoll Ahmed Hamza said the name proposed by Adhaalth Party, cannot be accepted but the nominee of People's Party is accepted.
Some members voiced their concern about Thasmeen's proposal saying the composition of the Election Commission was not in conformity and spirit of the Constitution and they have doubts about the independence of the commission. SLP leader and presidential candidate Male' member Ibrahim Ismail, Ibra expressed his unhappiness about approving a commission which he said will not be independent and which will be favorable to the government party DRP and interests of its presidential candidate. Ibra said apart from the candidate proposed by DRP, there are two other nominations from two parties which have not been active in party politics but which have begun some activities and talking of their support to DRP leader president Gayoom. He said during the past four years of the constitutional amendment, the issues of the election commission not being independent and the culture of vote rigging, fraud and other irregularities were the crying concern of members, but today they have forgotten that and is about to appoint an election commission which is on the side of DRP leader President Gayoom. Ibra said even if there was no one to second him he will propose 5 members from 5 political parties and requested for someone to second it. Laamu member and MDP Moosa Maniku who also expressed these concerns seconded Ibra's proposal.
But the other two proposals, one by Ibra and the other by MP for Fuvahmulah Mohamed Ibrahim Didi( Modi)were not voted on as proposal by Thasmeen came earlier than the other two, was passed by tow thirds Majlis majority. The 12 members who voted against the proposal were members of the newly formed Jumhoory Party. Members of DRP, MDP and PA all voted for the proposal.
Two political parties registered
5th Sept: Two political parties have been registered and included in the register of political parties, according to Election Commission's Office.
According to Election Commission the two newly registered political parties are Poverty Alleviating Party (PAP) and National Alliance. According to Election Commissioner's Office the 2 parties were registered up on completion of all formalities called for in the Political Party Regulations of 2005.
The registration papers of Poverty Alleviating Party (PAP) were handed over to the party's Interim Vice President Ahmed Saleem of H Fashan and the registration papers of National Alliance was handed over to the Chairperson of the party Dr. Mohamed Waheed of H Eureka.
The authority to proceed and engage in all necessary work for forming Poverty Alleviating Party (PAP) was given on 13 th April 2008 and the authority to National Alliance was given 25 December last year.
With the registration of PAP and National Alliance the number of political parties operating in the country is now 12.
Maldives appoints first ever Prosecutor General
5th Sept: Ahmed Muizzu has been appointed by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as the first Prosecutor General of the Maldives. The nomination of Muizzu was submitted to the People's Majlis last week for scrutiny and approval according to the Constitution. Nomination for the post requires two third majority of the Majlis before being appointed. Muizzu received 41 votes in favour which is larger than the required majority.
Muizzu took oath of Prosecutor General on Thursday before senior Judge Ahmed Faiz Hussain who is in charge of Judiciary. Later President Gayoom delivered him the letter of appointment for post. Muizu is one of the prominent lawyers of the country who has earned high respect for his professional ability and dignity. He is a staunch advocator of good governance and accountability. He has courageously fought against corruption. Though he is a relative of President Gayoom, Muizzu has very often criticized the government citing several cases of high corruption and abuse. He was one of the two MPs who voted against the amended Constitution adopted in 1998.
Majlis has earlier approved a monthly salary of Mrf 42,500 and allowance of Mrf 15,000 which is in the range of government ministers. Being a highly popular lawyer, Muizzu has suggested a salary in the range of Mrf. 60,000 to Mrf 70,000 if he were to leave his private practice and take the history making job. Muizzu would be earning much more than what he is going to be paid by the government, but he has accepted the job for the love of serving the country while accepting it as a huge challenge.
Responsibilities and powers of Prosecutor General include, supervising the prosecution of all criminal offences in the Maldives, to consider and assess evidence presented by investigating bodies to determine whether charges should be pursued, and to institute and conduct criminal proceedings against any person before any court in respect of any alleged offence.
The Constitution states Prosecutor General is independent and impartial and he shall not be under the direction or control of any person or authority in carrying out his responsibilities and exercise his powers. He shall carry out his responsibilities and exercise his powers without fear, favor or prejudice subject only to the general policy directives of the Attorney General and on the basis of fairness, transparency, and accountability.
During the Majlis debate on Muizzu's nomination many members said he is eminently qualified for the post in view of his very illustrious record of service professionalism and integrity. They expressed confidence in Muizzu and said they hope Muizzu's appointment would greatly serve the purpose and objectives of an independent Prosecutor General. But one member expressed concern about his relationship with the President.
President constitutes Judicial Service Commission
5th Sept: In accordance with Article 160 and Article 281(a) of the Constitution, the President as the Head of State has lastnight constituted the Judicial Service Commission.
The members of the Judicial Service Commission are as follows:
Abdul Ghanee Mohamed, a Judge of the High Court elected by the judges of the High Court
Mujuthaz Fahmy, a Judge of the Trial Courts elected by the judges of the Trial Courts
Ahmed Zahir, a Member of the People's Majlis appointed by it
Ibrahim Ahmed, member of the general public, appointed by the People's Majlis
Dr. Mohamed Latheef, President of the Civil Service Commission
Abbas Shareef, member appointed by the President
Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim, Lawyer elected from the lawyers licensed to practice in the Maldives
The Letters of Appointment to the members were presented by the President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom at a ceremony held at the President's Office lastnight.
Election Commission takes oath, Mohamed Ibrahim is Commissioner
5th Sept: The transitional Election Commission comprising of Mohamed Ibrahim of Noomuthi nominated by DRP, Mohamed Mahir of Oceania Irumatheebai nominated by SDP, Fuad Thawfeeg of M Thalhumudige nominated by PP, Ahmed Shahid of Chabeyleege nominated by MDP, and Ali Faiz of Manaage nominated by IDP have taken their oath yesterday before senior judge in charge of Judiciary Ahmed Faiz Hussain.
The Commission was approved by the People's Majlis in its meeting Thursday with 34 votes 12 against and one abstention. Their names were proposed by Baa member, Atolls Minister and DRP Deputy Leader and running mate Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and seconded by Vaavu member Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid. Members of DRP, MDP and PA voted for the list while members of JP voted against the proposal.
The new Election Commission has immediately started their work in the office of the Election Commissioner and elected Mohamed Ibrahim as Election Commissioner and Ahmed Shahid as Deputy Election Commissioner. JP has expressed their dissatisfaction about the Commission which they say have 3 members from the DRP side. JP's nominee Ibrahim Mohamed was not in the list approved by the Commission though his name was there on two other proposals made by Gn member Mohamed Ibrahim Didi and Male' Member Ibrahim Ismail, Ibra.JP says this is a serious blow to democracy and independent institutions and for holding free and fair elections which was the most crucial demand of the people in the reform programme.
Male member Ibrahim Ismail, Ibra after proposing a list comprising of one member from each party represented in the Majlis, also strongly criticised appointing election commission with three members loyal to government party DRP.Ibra said all the sacrifices of the reformists and opposition will have no meaning if the election commission is not going to be independent as enshrined in the Constitution.However, Commission members say they will be true to the oath they have taken and will remain independent and impartial in the important national task they were assigned.