President Ratifies the Anti-Defection Act

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President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has ratified the Anti-Defection Act (Act no. 2/2018). The bill was passed by the Parliament on Tuesday, 13 March 2018, at the eighth sitting of the First Session of the People’s Majlis. Upon ratification, the Act was published in the Government Gazette.

The Anti-Defection Act has been introduced in order to hold the Members of Parliament accountable to their constituents whilst necessitating that they remain dedicated to the political views upon which they were elected. Further, the Act also ensures that the Members are insulated from political and financial influences and that the Maldivian citizens’ faith in the Majlis as an institution remains intact.

The Act states that Members of Parliament elected on a specific political party’s ticket shall lose their seats if, after 13th July 2017, they:

• are removed from the Party whose ticket on which they got elected,
• voluntarily resigns from their Party, or
• joins to another Party.

As per the Act, the members will lose their seats once such a situation arises and the Parliament is notified by the Elections Commission of the same.

Further, it states that if an independent Member of Parliament joins a Party, they shall not lose their seat unless one of the three above mentioned situations arises after they join a political party.

Although the Anti-Defection Act ratified today states that a Member will not lose their seat if an Independent Member joins a political party, goes against the whip-line of their political party or has disciplinary action taken against them, the Member will still be disqualified if they are removed from the Party as a result of these circumstances.