Maldives MP Ahmed Rasheed publicly confessed Tuesday to signing a no-confidence motion against the speaker of parliament despite previously alleging that his signature was forged.
Shortly after the opposition alliance submitted the motion last week with the backing of ten MPs from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives, Rasheed insisted that he did not sign and asked the parliament secretariat to investigate the alleged forgery of his signature.
But at a press conference of the ruling coalition Tuesday afternoon, the MP for Isdhoo said he signed the motion at the behest of an unnamed individual whom he considers a parental figure.
Rasheed said he signed “without thinking” and reconsidered after realising the gravity of the matter.
He was assured a day before the motion was submitted that his signature would be omitted from the list, Rasheed added.
The lawmaker declined to comment on the controversy when contacted by the Maldives Independent.
The opposition had released a photo of Rasheed signing a document in front of MP Faris Maumoon after he denied signing the no-confidence motion.
His former PPM colleague MP Mohamed Musthafa also claimed that Rasheed had performed a prayer before signing the motion in front of two witnesses. The signing was filmed and Rasheed had declared that “this is hopefully over” afterwards, Musthafa insisted.
The other nine PPM MPs who signed the motion have meanwhile left the party after the Attorney General sought a Supreme Court ruling that would strip defecting MPs of their seats.
All of the defectors were among 48 MPs who voted against a no-confidence motion against Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed in late March, which was defeated in a controversial roll call vote after 13 opposition MPs were forcibly expelled from the chamber.
The opposition fell short in the March 27 vote after counting on defections from the PPM, which was split into rival factions last year after the civil court stripped former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of his powers as its elected leader and handed control to President Abdulla Yameen.
The second no-confidence motion was submitted with 45 signatures, shifting the balance of power in the 85-member house in the opposition’s favour for the first time since the March 2014 parliamentary elections.