The ruling MDP headed by President Ibrahim Solih in the Maldives has threatened to take action against members of the party who back a no-confidence motion against Attorney General (AG), Ibrahim Riffath, in Maldives’ Parliament. Riffath headed the Maldivian legal team at the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) that set the maritime boundary between Mauritius and Maldives by splitting a 95,563 km2 disputed zone between the two states with Maldives getting 47,232 km2 and Mauritius 45,331 km2 .
Although hailed by the Solih government as a victory for Malé, the opposition parties as well as the Fikuregge Dhirun faction within the MDP led by former president, and current parliamentary speaker, Mohamed Nasheed, have attacked the ITLOS decision as a setback for Maldives. Nasheed has urged the government to ignore the ITLOS decision. The speaker has urged Maldives to claim the Chagos itself as Maldivian territory, while the opposition parties have argued that Maldives should continue to claim the entire 95,563 km2 zone as its own territory.
Last week, the opposition PPM, JP and MNP parties along with some members of the MDP aligned with Nasheed managed to file a no-confidence motion in Maldives’ Parliament against Riffath, accusing the AG of not adequately representing Maldivian interests at the ITLOS. The MDP responded by backing Riffath in a statement saying that the AG “deserves commendation for the responsible work” done at the ITLOS. In its statement, the MDP also warned that it would take action against government MPs – an allusion to pro-Nasheed legislators – that vote in favour of the motion when it comes up in Parliament, citing it as a violation of the MDP’s party constitution and the regulations of its parliamentary group.
The vote itself, however, is unlikely to pass muster within the Maldivian Parliament since it would require the votes of 43 out of the 87 members of Maldives’ Parliament. The proNasheed faction of the MDP has 12 members while the opposition parties collectively control another 13. The remaining 54 are currently aligned with President Solih. The Solih government has come under attack by the opposition as well as Nasheed within his party as all of them have stated their intention to challenge his continued rule in elections scheduled to take place in September.