Despite an earlier recommendation not to appoint MPs from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) as chairs of key committees, the outgoing ruling party has secured chairmanships of almost all standing committees as it prepares to become the parliament’s opposition voice.

The move comes a little over a month from the change in government, when the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC) government becomes the ruling party on 17 November.

On 20 September, prior to the second round of the presidential election, parliament passed a recommendation advising against the appointment of MDP MPs as chairs of the public finance committee and the government oversight committee. 

This directive, however, appears to have been circumvented, as MDP MPs have been elected as chairs for the two crucial committees.

At a finance committee meeting held on Monday, MDP MP Mohamed Nashiz was confirmed as the chairman. Former Maafannu West MDP MP, Mohamed Falaah, was also elected as the chairman of the government oversight committee.

The Democrats MP Hussain Firushan raised the question of whether these appointments were in line with parliament’s recommendation. Administrative staff clarified, quoting legal advice from the parliament secretariat, that the recommendation was “only advice and not a binding decision.”

This incidates MDP is already transitioning to a more oppositional role in anticipation of the impending government change. “Thank you very much for your support. In 40 days our party [MDP] will be the opposition party in the Maldives. So, hopefully, we will do our best to hold the government accountable,” said Falaah.

The judiciary committee also announced two Maradhoo MDP MP Ibrahim Shareef as its chair and Villingili MDP MP Saud Hussein as his deputy.

On Monday, minority The Democrats held meetings with the incoming coalition. MP Hassan Latheef, Interim Chairman of The Democrats following the meeting stressed the importance of a cooperative People’s Majlis, suggesting that the parliament should enable the government to execute its agenda efficiently. He confirmed that the meeting discussed how The Democrats could assist in achieving this objective.