Abdul Raheem Abdulla, Special Advisor to the President and Chairperson of the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC), addressed concerns over the growing number of political appointees in the government. Abdulla defended the government’s actions, stating that they did not come to power to remain idle and believe that the number of political posts is not excessive. He mentioned ongoing projects like the Ras Malé project, which require a capable team, necessitating further appointments.

Abdulla also refuted claims of an inflated number of political positions, pointing out that the previous government had around 1,500 political appointees, while the current administration has not yet reached 500. President Mohamed Muizzu had previously pledged to limit political appointees to 700, but the current number remains unclear.

Since assuming office on 17 November, President Dr Mohamed Muizzu’s administration has appointed a total of 91 state ministers and 163 deputy ministers. This has raised concerns among the opposition parties, particularly the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and The Democrats, who argue that the increasing number of political appointees is burdensome for the state.

Among the appointments, Abdulla holds a senior ministerial position as the special advisor to the president. In addition to the 22 cabinet ministers, there are an additional 20 individuals appointed at ministerial levels, primarily within the President’s Office, with two in the Finance Ministry.

The Local Governance Ministry has the highest number of state ministers, with eight, followed by the Gender Ministry, Foreign Ministry, and the President’s Office, each with six state ministers. State ministers receive a monthly salary of MVR 47,000, while deputy ministers receive MVR 35,000 per month. This amounts to a monthly expenditure of MVR 10 million for the salaries of all state and deputy ministers.

In the previous administration, the number of deputy ministers was 48, and state ministers numbered 28, significantly lower than the current figures. Currently, there are a total of 299 ministers, ministerial-level appointees, state ministers, and deputy ministers in the government, with additional political appointees holding lower ranks in various government offices.

Despite the government’s assurance not to exceed 700 political appointees, the opposition parties, MDP and The Democrats, have expressed growing concerns and plan to file amendments to laws to cap the number of political posts in the government.