All 93 members for the 20th Parliament were sworn in for their five-year term at 9 a.m. on Tuesday by Chief Justice Ahmed Muthasim Adnan.

The People’s National Congress (PNC) had won 66 seats in the 21 April parliamentary elections, with nine independent Members of Parliament (MPs) subsequently joining the party, thus consolidating a clear supermajority for the administration-aligned PNC with a dominating 75 seats in parliament.

The supermajority was further reinforced by Jumhooree Party (JP) leader MP Gasim Ibrahim, Maldives National Party (MNP) leader MP Mohamed Nazim and Maldives Democratic Alliance (MDA) leader MP Ahmed Siyam Mohamed, along with MDA’s MP for Velidhoo Mohamed Abbas, having pledged initial support to PNC, bringing the total number of seats in alignment with President Mohamed Muizzu’s PNC-led administration to 79, out of a total of 93 seats.

The PNC’s success at the polls constitutes the largest supermajority in parliament since multi-party elections were introduced in 2008, and the supermajority, a goal that President Muizzu had openly aspired to, now affords him the unique opportunity to, without much political interference, work towards fulfilling his manifesto virtually unencumbered.

Seats in clear opposition to the administration, all held by MPs belonging to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), number 12, with the two remaining seats held by Independent MPs—a significant reversal in voter confidence from when 65 of the 86 seats during the 19th Parliament were held by the MDP, with a mere six seats controlled by the then opposition.

“We will do whatever it takes to maintain or facilitate the principles that the MDP believes in. We will not back down in doing so, we will fight for it. We will not hold up our hands [and give in],” MDP’s MP for Vaikaradhoo Hussain Ziyad said addressing the question of whether parliament could successfully hold the administration to account in the face of the executive-aligned supermajority.

While Parliament is the greatest means of holding the administration accountable, and while it will not be easy to do so for a smaller opposition minority, the MDP believes that journalists and the media should continue to play a strong role, as they have done in the past five years, to support holding the executive to task, Ziyad said.

“Our vision is to engage with the journalists as well, and with their help, we can hold the administration accountable. With the responsibility of the media, we can produce results… With the help of the media, the team grows even bigger. It becomes a very big team,” the Vaikaradhoo MP said, signalling the opposition’s drive for accountability even with their fewer numbers in parliament.

Meanwhile, the newly elected Speaker of Parliament, and PNC MP for Fonadhoo Abdul Raheem Abdulla, said the parliament will be held in check.

“I want to assure the people that they should not worry at all. The super majority you gave us, [and] President Muizzu and his party will benefit you, god-willing,” Abdulla said.

Abdulla’s party colleague, Ahmed Nazim, who is the MP for Dhiggaru, was elected Deputy Speaker, with the Majority and Minority Leaders yet to be determined.

“We will make this parliament one that will be trusted by, and works for, the people… President Muizzu met us and asked us to make this parliament one that has the love and trust of the people. Make it an exemplary parliament. That is the phrase he used,” Speaker Abdulla said.

When it comes to any rumoured constitutional amendments, Abdulla said no discussions had yet taken place.

“We will look at whether the Constitution needs to be amended to further improve the existing system. We will not do such a thing unless we have discussed it very extensively,” he said.

Before making any such change, the President will be consulted and the considered changes will be shared with the public, Abdulla said.

“I’m not saying we won’t, but if we change the constitution, we’ll do so after extensive consideration,” the Speaker said.

Observers note that while PNC is coming into the 20th parliament with a clear supermajority, based on recent parliamentary history where almost all majorities have been significantly diluted or lost because of internal strife within political parties, maintaining the status-quo might not prove easy.