The Democrats have decided to put a hold on their campaign to switch Maldives from a presidential to a parliamentary system. Speaker Mohamed Nasheed announced the party’s decision during Wednesday’s parliamentary session, stating that the initiative has been paused to allow President-elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu the space to form his government and govern under the existing presidential system.

The Parliament had earlier passed a resolution, spearheaded by the Democrats, to hold a public referendum on changing the governance system. The referendum was initially scheduled to be held before 30 October. However, during a meeting with Muizzu on Tuesday, Nasheed indicated that the Democrats would not be pressing forward with these plans for now.

Nasheed stated, “I, myself, and members of the Democrats, who called for the referendum, don’t wish to proceed with this at this time. The Democrats wish for Muizzu to assemble his administration, and for the administration to govern in accordance with the presidential system.”

According to Speaker Nasheed, Muizzu was not opposed to the idea of a referendum in due course. “Muizzu said that in due course, we can circle back to it and ask the people,” noted Nasheed, expressing satisfaction with the President-elect’s response. He urged the Parliament to give Muizzu the opportunity to assume office and govern the country under the current system.

This development comes hot on the heels of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s National Council decision, which stated that they would not support a move to a parliamentary system, should a referendum occur.

The Elections Commission had already informed Parliament that it would not be able to organise the referendum by the previously agreed upon deadline. The Commission also requested the specific question that would be posed to the public during the referendum.

With the President-elect appearing open to discussing the issue at a later stage, the question of changing from a presidential to a parliamentary system remains a potential topic for future national discourse.