The Supreme Court’s recent ruling against the Parliament Secretariat’s interpretation of standing orders brings a new twist to the ongoing parliamentary deadlock over the no-confidence motion against Speaker Mohamed Nasheed.

Following the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) challenge, the Supreme Court clarified that in cases where both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are unable to preside, one of the five longest-serving parliamentarians should take the chair. This ruling potentially clears the path for the no-confidence motion against Nasheed to proceed.

However, complications loom as allegations have emerged, suggesting that Nasheed intends to obstruct the motion until after the Presidential Inauguration on 17 November. Screenshots shared on social media by MP Rozaina Adam and statements from Hulhumalé  MP Ali Niyaz indicate that Nasheed may seek to delay proceedings further. The MDP, holding a majority in Parliament, has expressed its intention to protest if President-elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu is sworn in with Nasheed presiding as Speaker.

There are also rumours that Nasheed may call in sick next week, potentially avoiding the obligation to respond to the allegations against him. If Nasheed is present, the Parliament has structured the no-confidence proceeding to allow him a total of 30 minutes to defend himself, divided into three 10-minute segments at the beginning, middle, and end of the two-hour session.

The remaining 90 minutes of the session will be dedicated to MPs debating the motion. The time will be divided among parties in proportion to their representation in Parliament, with each MP being given one three-minute slot to speak.

In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the MDP has called on the Parliament Secretariat to adhere to regulations and the majority consensus in the house. The party views the court’s decision as a victory for constitutional autonomy and democratic norms.

The Parliament has now scheduled the no-confidence motion against Speaker Nasheed for Sunday. 

Despite the Supreme Court’s verdict, questions remain about the practical resolution of the deadlock. With Nasheed hinting at continued obstruction and the MDP poised for protest, the coming week is critical for Maldivian democracy. As the nation approaches the presidential inauguration and with the state budget pending, the ability of the Parliament to function effectively and uphold democratic norms remains under intense scrutiny.