In an avoidably chaotic first meeting of the new People's Majlis, Keyodhoo member Abdullah Shahid has been elected Speaker. Ahmed Nazim was elected Deputy Speaker.
When the Majlis convened at 11 am today, it went into an avoidable debate allowed by the interim speaker Mohamed Hussein, following a point of order taken by Mariyaa Ahmed Didi saying that if the speaker uses his casting vote following a secret ballot, his vote will no longer be secret. Instead of going on with the agenda, which is to elect a Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Mohamed Hussein decided to ask for members' opinion on the hypothetical situation: what to do if there is a tie in the secret ballot? One clause of the Constitution says the speaker must not take part in a ballot. Another clause says the speaker must use his casting vote in case of a tie.
Interim Speaker Mohammed Hussein thought there was a contradiction between the two clauses. However, many members felt there was no such contradiction. This difference of opinion led to a volley of 'points of order,' which wasted more than one and half hours of the Majlis's valuable time. In the end it was decided to go ahead with the vote first and to deal with the issue later if it arose.
When the floor was opened for proposing names for the post of speaker, Ahmed Thasmeen Ali proposed the name of Abdullah Shahid and Abdullah Yaameen seconded it. Mariyaa Ahmed Didi proposed the name of Ibrahim Mohammed Solih and Reeko Moosa Manik seconded it. When the names were put to vote Abdullah Shahid won the election 42 to 33.
When the floor was opened for proposing names for the post of Deputy Speaker Mariyaa Ahmed Didi proposed the name of Ahmed Hamza and Moosa Manik seconded it. Ahmed Thasmeen proposed the name of Ahmed Nazim and Abdullah Yaameen seconded it. Gasim Ibrahim proposed the name of Mohamed Nasheed and Ahmed Shyam Mohamed seconded it. But Mohamed Nasheed withdrew his name. When the names were put to vote Ahmed Nazim won the election 41 to 33.
The way the vote went is a strong indication of the strength of the two major parties. It does not augur very well for the ruling MDP.