The Minister of Finance is set to present the State Budget to Parliament on Tuesday, despite existing conflicts in procedural rules.

According to Parliament’s Standing Orders, the Finance Minister is required to submit the budget for the upcoming year before 1 November each year. The same Standing Orders also stipulate that no other matter shall take precedence over a no-confidence motion against the Speaker.

Two consecutive sittings have failed to materialise, primarily due to the Deputy Speaker being on sick leave. The Standing Orders further dictate that impeachment proceedings against a Speaker must be presided over by the Deputy Speaker.

In spite of these complications, Parliament has released the agenda for its upcoming sittings, with the presentation of the 2024 State Budget and the supplementary budget for the remainder of the year scheduled for Tuesday. Meanwhile, the no-confidence motion has been tabled for Wednesday.

The majority-holding Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has announced that it will not cooperate in the budget debate until the no-confidence motion is addressed. The party has filed a petition with the Supreme Court, seeking clarification on the Standing Orders.

The Supreme Court has accepted the petition. MDP seeks a ruling stating that the Parliament Secretariat must comply with Clause 44 of the rules of procedure in the event of the Deputy Speaker’s absence during a sitting where a no-confidence motion against the Speaker is tabled. The party also requests the court’s interpretation of the Standing Order clause which states that no other parliamentary sittings can be conducted until a decision is reached on the no-confidence motion.

According to Clause 44 of the Parliament’s Standing Orders, if both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are unable to preside over a session, the Speaker should appoint a member to preside, in accordance with Article 82(b) of the Constitution.

As procedural conflicts continue to impede parliamentary proceedings, there is a growing likelihood that these issues could affect the functionality of the Executive branch.