In a flagrant display of belligerent posturing, the DRP-PA Coalition has announced its own candidates for the posts of both the speaker and the deputy speaker of the newly elected People's Majlis. Such posturing followed by a contentious election would only politicize the esteemed post and hamper the speaker's ability to function effectively. In order to avoid such dilemma, efforts are made in parliamentary democracies to reach consensus and avoid voting.
For example, after the Indian General Elections in 1998, the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had the numbers in the 12th Lok Sabha (lower house of Indian Parliament) to get its own candidates through. But it negotiated with the Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to share the posts. Ultimately C.M. Balayogi of NDA was elected speaker and PM Sayeed (a native of Minicoy) of UPA was elected deputy speaker unanimously. Later when Balayogi died he was replaced by Manohar Joshi of NDA, again without opposition. This arrangement continued through the 13th Lok Sabha. In the 14th Lok Sabha, which ended last week, Somnath Chatterjee supported by UPA was elected speaker and Charanjit Atwal of NDA was elected deputy speaker by consensus.
As of now it does not appear as if the Maldives Majlis is heading for a consensus. On Wednesday, the main opposition Dhivehi Rahyithunge Party (DRP), which won highest number of seats in the recently held parliamentary election, decided to submit the names of Abdulla Shahid (Felidhoo) and Ahmed Nazim, (Dhiggaru) for Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively. Though not officially announced so far it is rumored that MDP will propose Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Hinnavaru) as its candidate for speaker.
In the recently concluded parliamentary elections, DRP/PA coalition won 35 seats. The ruling party, MDP won 26 seats and 13 seats went to independent candidates. A total of 39 seats are required to secure a majority in the parliament.
Mohamed Hussein (Kanditheemu) the senior most parliamentarian in the Majlis will chair the first sitting of the Majlis to be held on 28 May, secretariat of the People's Majlis has revealed. The election of the speaker and deputy will be held during the meeting. For the sake of democracy, one hopes the two leading parties will find a consensus avoid a fractious election.