Maldives Parliament committee approves extension of Emergency
Male: Maldives' parliamentary committee on national security passed a resolution on Monday to extend the ongoing state of Emergency by an additional 15 days.
The development came after President Abdulla Yameen earlier in the day requested the Parliament to extend the Emergency, which was first declared on February 5 for 15 days.
Parliament was convened for a special session to debate the resolution before the initial period of Emergency expires on Tuesday, en.mihaaru.com reported.
The National Security Committee reviewed the resolution behind closed doors. It was passed with six members of the ruling coalition -- Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) -- voting in favour, while two lawmakers of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) voted against it.
The resolution was forwarded to the committee for review with the votes of 38 lawmakers. Opposition lawmakers boycotted the "special" sitting.
The opposition lawmakers later stated that "to pass the state of Emergency declaration from the Parliament there should be 43 members participating in the vote as per Constitution. A vote taken without them would be invalid".
However, the members of the parliamentary committee after approving the resolution revealed that they had amended it to lift the suspension of constitutional articles that curtailed the powers of the Parliament and judiciary.
Yameen had declared the state of Emergency soon after the Supreme Court issued an order on February 1 to release nine high-profile political prisoners, including exiled leader Mohamed Nasheed and reinstate unseated legislators.
The ruling was, however, rescinded shortly after the announcement of Emergency.
In his letter to the Parliament, Yameen had stated that the Supreme Court had overreached its judicial mandate despite the separation of powers, which would compromise the independence and sovereignty of the nation.
The President said he believed that the top court's actions had shaken the constitutional framework of the Maldives.
While the committee has passed the 15-day extension to the state of Emergency, it can only be enforced after Parliament's approval.