New Delhi: The Maldivian Democratic Party, the main opposition party in the Maldives, is reportedly preparing to initiate an impeachment motion against the atoll nation’s president, Mohamed Muizzu. The MDP has gathered enough signatures to proceed with the impeachment process, although the submission is pending, according to Maldivian news outlets.
The impeachment bid was brought as the current government has jeopardized relations with old ally India and alleged opaqueness in government appointments and deals, especially with foreign countries. The MDP along with another opposition party – the Democrats – had accused Muizzu of being anti-India in a recent news conference, as reported by India Sentinels. They had said: “The current administration appears to be making a stark pivot towards an anti-India stance. Both the Maldivian Democratic Party and the Democrats believe alienating any development partner, and especially the country’s most longstanding ally will be extremely detrimental to the long-term development of the country.”
After Muizzu assumed the presidency, the ties between India and the Maldives have rapidly deteriorated. Muizzu ordered Indian troops out of his country and later set March 15 as the deadline. Indian military personnel in the country are mainly stationed for repairing Maldivian aircraft and equipment troops that India gifted to the atoll nation. They also provide emergency services to the Maldivian people, like airlifting them during medical and other emergencies. The Maldives also cancelled a hydrography agreement between the Indian Navy and the Maldivian National Defence Force.
It may be recalled that Muizzu made China his first destination for visit after becoming the country’s president, where he signed 20 agreements with China, details of most of which are sketchy. Earlier, new Maldivian presidents visited India first to reaffirm and strengthen the ties between the two countries.
Earlier this month, the Maldives allowed a Chinese spy ship to dock at Male port despite India’s concerns. This took place after Sri Lanka refused the ship’s entry into its territorial waters due to India’s objections.
The impeachment motion requires a two-thirds majority in the Maldivian parliament, People’s Majlis, which consists of 80 members. The MDP and Democrats collectively hold more than 56 seats, while the People’s National Congress has 13. There are three independent members, and the Jumhooree Party and the Maldives Development Alliance each have two members.
It may be noted that the Maldives has been in political turmoil since the 2018 presidential election, which saw the defeat of the India-friendly former president, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Muizzu assumed the presidency in November 2023.
The impeachment motion, if tabled, will be a significant blow to Muizzu, who is facing increasing opposition from both the MDP and some members of his own party, the People’s National Congress.