Former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has accused the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC) of bribery, claiming that a dozen MPs from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) were financially induced to switch allegiance. 

This claim, made while campaigning in Manadhoo, Noonu Atoll, for the upcoming parliamentary elections, paints a troubling picture of political corruption and manipulation, suggesting efforts to undermine the legislative branch’s efficacy and consolidate power within the executive.

Solih’s accusations come amid concerns over the functionality of the Parliament, which he claims is being deliberately weakened. “The effort begun to render the People’s Majlis, one major power determined by the Constitution, useless and consolidate powers,” he stated, highlighting the strategic political manoeuvring to erode the separation of powers that underpins democratic governance. 

According to Solih, the PNC’s actions are a blatant attempt to dilute the MDP’s influence within Parliament, thereby compromising its role as a check on executive authority. He said President Dr Mohamed Muizzu’s refusal to ratify laws passed by the Parliament further compounds the issue, suggesting a deliberate challenge to parliamentary authority. 

Solih warns that without the current MDP majority, the government might disregard legislative mandates entirely, posing a direct threat to the democratic process.

The timing of these allegations is particularly critical, given the backdrop of the newly introduced Anti-Defection Bill aimed at curtailing political floor-crossing and enhancing the accountability of elected officials.

This legislation, which now seems more pertinent than ever, seeks to address the underlying issues of political defection and corruption that Solih’s allegations bring to light. It underscores the need for robust mechanisms to ensure elected representatives remain committed to their electoral mandates and are not swayed by financial incentives or partisan maneuvering.