President Mohamed Muizzu reappointed three cabinet members on Monday, despite their failure to secure confirmation from the opposition-controlled parliament. The appointments of Attorney General Ahmed Usham, Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, and Housing Minister Dr Ali Haidar Ahmed were made after 19 of the 22-member cabinet received parliamentary approval.

This action followed a tumultuous session in parliament, where the sound of trumpets and shouting from pro-government lawmakers disrupted proceedings. Opposition members formed a protective circle around Speaker Mohamed Aslam’s desk during the vote on cabinet nominations, initially scheduled for Sunday but postponed due to disruptions and physical altercations among lawmakers.

Article 129 of the Constitution stipulates that cabinet appointments must be sent for parliamentary confirmation within seven days of appointment. However, neither the Constitution nor other laws detail what happens if approval is denied.

The current situation draws parallels to a 2010 incident involving then-President Mohamed Nasheed. Some ministers in Nasheed’s cabinet failed to secure confirmation after their reappointment following an en masse resignation of the entire cabinet.

This move was challenged at the Supreme Court, and the apex court ruled that ministers could not remain in the cabinet without parliamentary consent. However, unlike President Muizzu, former President Nasheed respected the ruling.

“When the Supreme Court rules that cabinet ministers cannot remain in office without the approval of the People’s Majlis, it is compulsory for the President to follow that ruling,” former President Nasheed said in his weekly radio address following the ruling.

Despite this, President Muizzu proceeded with the reappointments. The ceremony, held at the President’s Office, saw Usham, Shaheem, and Haider receiving their appointment letters. Initially, the Supreme Court refused to send a judge for the swearing-in ceremony, but later, following a formal letter from the president and a subsequent judges’ meeting, Justice Husnu Suood administered the oath of office.

Usham’s reappointment includes his return to the Judicial Service Commission as the Attorney General.