Male: In a major blow to President Mohamed Waheed ahead of the Presidential election in September, the Maldivian Parliament on Tuesday overruled his veto on a crucial political bill requiring minimum membership of 10,000 people for recognition and participation in polls.
The Bill was passed by the Parliament in December last year. However, Waheed - whose party Gaumee Iththihaadh Party (GIP) has a membership of just over 3,000 members refused to ratify the bill and had sent it back to Parliament for reconsideration in January.
During today`s session, both Parliament`s minority leader and majority leader unanimously supported to pass the bill without any amendments, forcing it through.
Out of the 67 members present during the vote, 60 voted in favor of the passage of the bill while six voted against the bill and one MP abstained, the Minivan News reported.
According to the constitution, if a bill sent back to Parliament by the President is passed again without making any changes, the bill automatically becomes law without the need of a presidential ratification.
Upon ratification, the bill will provide a three month period for any political party with fewer than 10,000 members to reach the required amount or face being dissolved.
Article 11 of the bill states that at least 10,000 signatures would be needed to register a party at the Elections Commission (EC), which would be mandated to ensure that membership does not fall below the figure.
Parties unable to sign 10,000 members would be dissolved.
Of the 16 parties currently in existence, only five parties now have more than 10,000 registered members, including the former President Mohamed Nasheed`s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) as well as the government-aligned parties DRP, PPM, business tycoon MP Gasim Ibrahim`s Jumhoree Party (JP) and most recently, the religious conservative party Adhaalath Party (AP).
In December, leaders of Adhaalath Party, a bitter critic of GMR airport project, had opposed the bill.
However, yesterday, the Elections Commission informed the party that it had attained the needed 10,000 members.
The party had carried out a vigorous membership campaign during which slogans such as "sign for Adhaalath party for Islam" and "defend Islam" were used, Minivan said.