President Dr. Muizzu ratifies Anti-Defection Act: MPs must resign upon party switch

16 Apr 2024 | 22:59
President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu (Photo/ President's office)

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has officially approved the Anti-Defection Act, which was passed by parliament during its Twentieth sitting of the First Session this year on April 1.

The Act mandates that Members of Parliament (MPs) who switch parties must resign from their positions.

Under the Act, elected officials are obligated to resign in the event of administrative removal from their party, voluntary departure to join another party, or renouncing their independent status to join a political party.

The law applies to elected members of Parliament, City Councils, Atoll Councils, Island Councils, or Women's Development Committees.

The bill received a majority of 33 votes in favor, with six MPs voting against it.

It was originally proposed by Ahmed Abdulla, an MP from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) representing the Baarah constituency.

Following its submission, a special committee composed of seven members from the opposition MDP reviewed the bill and made significant amendments before presenting it for a parliamentary vote.

One of the key changes introduced by the committee was replacing the provision that MPs would lose their seats if they defected to another party, with a requirement for voluntary resignation.

In the event of vacancies created by defection, by-elections will be held, and the Act allows ousted members to contest again.

The primary objective of the Anti-Defection Act is to enhance public trust in elected representatives, ensuring their allegiance to the political ideologies they were elected on, and safeguarding against undue political or financial influences.