Male | The Maldives' Parliament on Monday approved only one of the four members of pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu's cabinet against whom the main opposition MDP has issued a three-line red whip.
While Parliament voted to deny approval to Housing Minister Ali Haidar Ahmed, Islamic Minister Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed and Attorney General Ahmed Usham, Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed narrowly survived the same fate, according to local media reports.
President Muizzu, 45, had made a formal request for the approval of his cabinet on November 20, two days after the new administration took office.
The Parliament was scheduled to vote on the Cabinet on December 18, but the original report by the Government Oversight Committee was rejected. The Parliament held an extraordinary sitting on Sunday to take the vote on the committee's new report, which was passed on December 30, news website sun.com.mv reported.
But just ahead of the voting on Sunday, the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which holds a majority in Parliament, decided to withhold parliamentary approval for the four members of Muizzu's cabinet and issued a three-line red whip against them.
The move triggered clashes between pro-government and opposition lawmakers, obstructing the parliamentary sitting from proceeding.
The long-delayed vote finally took place on Monday afternoon and the Parliament rejected Haidar, Shaheem and Usham.
Haidar was rejected with a vote of 46-24, while Usham was rejected with a vote of 44-24, and Shaheem with a vote of 31-30, with eight abstinences.
However, Saeed, against whom the whip was also applied, narrowly passed rejection with a vote of 37-32.
The remaining 18 members of the Cabinet, including Defence Minister Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon and Home Minister Ali Ihusan – who the MDP threatened to reject if the disruptions continued – received approval.
Soon after taking oath as the President of Maldives on November 17 last year, Muizzu, who is regarded as a pro-China leader, formally requested India to withdraw its military personnel from his country, saying the Maldivian people have given him a "strong mandate" to make this request to New Delhi.