President Dr Mohamed Muizzu has accused the opposition-controlled parliament of succumbing to foreign influence, leading to the rejection of three of his 22 cabinet minister nominations. The allegations came during his tour of the northern atolls while addressing residents in Nolhivaramfaru of Haa Dhaalu Atoll.

The opposition-dominated parliament rejected the confirmation of Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed as Islamic Minister, Dr Ali Haidar as Housing Minister, and Ahmed Usham as Attorney General.

President Muizzu, alleging foreign intervention in this decision-making process, did not specify a country directly. However, these claims are set against the backdrop of deteriorating relations with India and the opposition’s close ties with the country.

Despite the initial rejection, President Muizzu reappointed the three ministers immediately, challenging the parliamentary decision and seeking subsequent approval, which remains pending.

Muizzu criticised the parliamentary majority for their obstructionist approach, questioning the legal and authoritative basis of their actions. He claimed the opposition used specific directives to reject a portion of his cabinet, allegedly under foreign directives, undermining the constitutional criteria and the opportunity for the ministers to prove their capabilities.

While the President has been opaque in specifying what “foreign influence” he referred to, top officials from his government have alleged that the recent election of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) president was influenced by India.

Former Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid was appointed as MDP’s president following an uncontested election process. In subsequent interviews with some local media outlets, Shahid dismissed these rumours, saying the current government officials should recognise his abilities in accomplishing feats independently.

The opposition MDP and The Democrats, who rejected the nominations in parliament, have yet to comment on the president’s comments.