The commencement of the 2024 parliamentary sessions on Monday was marked by an almost empty parliament floor, with the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and The Democrats boycotting the sitting. 

The session saw President Dr Mohamed Muizzu delivering his inaugural address, outlining his administration’s vision and objectives. However, the session was attended by only 24 members, highlighting the political discord.

Speaker Mohamed Aslam opened the session by acknowledging the boycott and providing the reasons given by the opposition parties. The MDP, after its 148th Parliamentary Group meeting, cited the change of the opening day from an official holiday to a working day as a deliberate attempt by the President to undermine the Parliament’s dignity. Further grievances included a lack of action from the government to prevent threats and attacks on MPs and incidents of unrest, such as stone and bottle throwing by senior government officials and others at the Parliament premises.

The Democrats aligned with the MDP in their boycott, protesting the President’s decision to invite three ministers, who had not received parliamentary approval, to the opening session. This action was deemed unconstitutional by the party, challenging the Parliament’s authority and dignity.

Speaker Aslam, in his closing remarks, emphasised the constitutional mandate of the three branches of state to operate within their responsibilities without infringing upon each other. He warned against the detrimental impact of ongoing disputes and power struggles on national progress.

The session, despite the boycott, was attended by the Chief Justice and members of President Muizzu’s cabinet, including ministers he reappointed despite parliamentary rejection, highlighting the tensions between the executive and legislative branches.