Ahmed Saleem, Member of Parliament (MP) for Hoarafushi, has been appointed Deputy Speaker of Parliament. In a parliamentary sitting held Sunday evening, Saleem secured the deputy speakership with the backing of 51 members.

This appointment follows the resignation of the MP for North Galolhu, Eva Abdulla, who previously held the position. Abdulla’s resignation was a response to a motion of no confidence tabled in parliament.

Saleem faced competition from the MP for Kaashidhoo, Abdulla Jabir, who secured 23 votes in the deputy speaker election.

Upon his election, Saleem expressed gratitude to all members of the parliamentary group of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the majority party in parliament. He also extended his thanks to the MDP interim leader, former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and the party chairperson Fayyaz Ismail.

Saleem stated, “This vote proves that the MDP really stands by its democratic values. It shows that anyone can make progress in the party.” With Saleem’s victory, both the speakership and deputy speakership are now held by MDP members.

Abdulla resigned after delivering a robust rebuttal in parliament against the MDP-initiated motion of no confidence to remove her from the position of Deputy Speaker. She characterised the no-confidence motion as retribution for her outspoken criticism of the former MDP-led Solih administration.

Abdulla was confirmed as Deputy Speaker under an MDP majority while she was a member of the MDP. The no-confidence motion against her came in the wake of her and several of her parliamentary colleagues, including former Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, left the MDP to form the new ‘The Democrats’ party following a leadership rift leading up to the presidential elections.

Additional reporting by Mohamed A. Haleem