Plans are underway for the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu and Vice President-elect Hussain Mohamed Latheef, scheduled for 17 November at the Republic Square in Male’ City. 

According to Parliament’s Communications Director Hassan Ziyau, the event is budgeted at MVR 22.9 million. SIWEC, the army’s business unit, has been awarded the contract to manage all aspects of the event, including catering and setup. 

While the ceremony is currently not open to the general public, this could change as the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) finalises security arrangements. The President-elect has expressed his wish that the ceremony be accessible to ordinary Maldivians.

If the weather is uncooperative, the swearing-in ceremony will be moved to Parliament House. Ziyau revealed that approximately 3,500 invitations have been sent out for the inauguration, which include foreign dignitaries. 

Leaders from three countries have signalled their attendance, pending the completion of security arrangements. While the Parliament has disclosed the cost of the ceremony, it has not yet provided a detailed account of the expenses.

Meanwhile, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the majority party in Parliament, has vowed not to permit the swearing-in to take place while the current Speaker of Parliament, in whom they have lost confidence, remains in his position, casting a shadow over the forthcoming ceremony.

The MDP’s stance puts the ceremony at risk of legal questioning and even threatens to turn it into a constitutional crisis if the pending no-confidence motion against the Speaker is not resolved by 17 November. According to Article 205 of the parliamentary rules, the no-confidence motion must be addressed within a specific time frame, and a delay could stall other parliamentary activities.

Legal representatives from President-elect Muizzu’s PPM-PNC coalition have voiced their dissatisfaction with MDP’s stance. Former Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin and former Attorney General Azima Shukoor argue that halting state activities for a particular political agenda is improper. However, former Attorney General Diyana Saeed, who campaigned for incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, supports the MDP’s position, asserting that a Speaker who has lost confidence cannot legitimately preside over Parliament.

Given the MDP’s majority, they have the power to bring legislative activities, including the approval of the President-elect’s cabinet, to a standstill. This creates an aura of uncertainty around the swearing-in ceremony, and even the governance transition itself.