For a second consecutive year, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the main opposition, boycotted the President’s annual state of the nation address at the official opening of parliament on Monday.
The MDP’s parliamentary group took the decision at a meeting held in Colombo, where the party’s leadership travelled en masse last week to meet with exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed.
The opposition MPs disrupted Yameen’s 2015 address with protests inside the parliament chamber in the wake of Nasheed’s controversial arrest.
The MDP’s spokesman and MP Imthiyaz Fahmy told journalists that listening to the President Abdulla Yameen’s speech is “unnecessary” as the state of the nation has worsened since he delivered last year’s presidential address.
“The country’s situation, economically and financially, has deteriorated and is detrimental to the people and the state. So, it is not important for the public to go and listen to Yameen’s lowly and vulgar talk,” he said.
Imthiyaz accused Yameen’s administration of flouting the constitution and infringing on basic rights.
The MDP’s parliamentary group leader, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, told that the minority party – which holds 21 seats – is denied the opportunity to hold the government accountable. The speaker refuses to table questions posed to ministers in the agenda, he said.
The president is mandated by the constitution to address the People’s Majlis at the beginning of the year’s first session, where he presents proposals for improving the state of the country.