The state of emergency decree passed by the Maldivian parliament is illegal, said the Joint Opposition on Tuesday.
The opposition alleged that the Speaker bypassed the constitution to pass the emergency decree in the parliament.
“President Abdulla Yameen failed to muster the required number of votes to pass his emergency legislation. And, so Yameen has ratified and extended the emergency illegally. This state of emergency is illegal and void. All acts undertaken with emergency powers are illegal. By entirely circumventing the constitution, President Yameen has, in effect, hijacked the entire state and is ruling the Maldives like a military dictator,” Parliamentary group leader of the Joint Opposition, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said.
In a statement, joint Maldivian opposition said, “Article 87b of the constitution stated that 43 MPs (out of 85 MPs) should be present in the parliament during voting on a matter of public compliance. Hence, a state of emergency was a matter of public compliance.”
It added, “With the Joint Opposition boycotting today’s sitting, the ruling Progressive Party could not get the required 43 MPs. In a flagrant violation of the Maldivian constitution, the speaker bypassed the constitution, and instead cited a parliamentary regulation to arbitrarily change the quorum to 20 MPs.”
The emergency decree was voted on with 40 MPs in attendance, and 38 approvals.
“The state of emergency that President Yameen declared on February 5 is therefore void, and the 30 days’ extension sought by the Maldivian President is also illegal,” said the joint opposition.
“All acts conducted by the Yameen regime invoking the state of emergency are also therefore invalidated and all persons arbitrarily detained under emergency powers must be immediately and unconditionally released,” the statement read.
Former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Qayoom, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, and Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed were arrested under the state of emergency powers.
Over the past two weeks, three MPs, Mohamed Shifaz, the Vice President of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the council members of the MDP, family members of the opposition leaders and a number of opposition activists have been detained.
The joint opposition demanded that President Yameen should immediately ask the military to move from the parliament and release the detainees so that the parliament can function freely and democratically.