Outgoing President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said that while he personally supports a presidential system of government, the final consensus will be left to his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). He has always believed in the presidential system, Solih said addressing reporters after his defeat at the polls last Saturday.

“In my personal opinion, the best way for the country is the presidential system. That is my personal opinion. The party will determine the party’s decision. I will proceed according to that decision,” Solih said.

The President’s remarks come as the MDP national assembly is expected to meet on Tuesday evening to decide whether to come out in support of a Westminster style of government versus a presidential system.

The debate had grown more heated after the party’s former leader Mohamed Nasheed expressed interest in rejoining the MDP and asked them to support a parliamentary system.

The President said 99 percent of the MDP’s national assembly did not support Nasheed rejoining the MDP or moving towards a parliamentary system.

This comes in the backdrop of parliament having directed the Elections Commission (EC) to hold a referendum. EC in turn had reverted to parliament with a point of clarification on what question, or questions, specifically the referendum is to pose to the Maldivian people.

The parliamentary session scheduled for today to further address the issue was cancelled due to a lack of quorum.

The President highlighted that any proposed amendment to the system of governance could only be passed in parliament with a two-thirds majority and that, even then, he would seek public consultation in the form of a referendum before ratifying any such change.

“If you send it to me, I will get the people’s opinion. If you want to change such an article of the Constitution, that is the way it should be done in the Constitution. So when the process comes [to that point], I will go to the people… If the people don’t accept [the change], I can’t ratify it,” Solih said.