Maldives: President Muizzu faces big snub, delivers parliamentary address to empty Opposition benches
In the past few days, the opposition has been protesting, among other things, the anti-India and pro-China foreign policy pivot of the Muizzu government.
|Mohamed Muizzu delivered his presidential address to empty Opposition benches | X/@sidhant | WION Photograph:(Twitter)
Former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's MDP has not revealed why they are skipping the presidential address.
The Democrats, however, have pointed to the re-appointment of three ministers into Muizzu cabinet rejected by parliament as reason behind their boycott.
Only 24 Maldives Members of Parliament (MPs) attended Muizzu's address with a total of 56 MPs boycotting the opening sitting.
Notably, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is in control of the parliament as President Muizzu-led ruling People's National Congress (PNC)-Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) alliance does not have a parliamentary majority.
In his presidential address, Muizzu said that he came to power riding on the pledge to "withdraw foreign troops from Maldives, recover the lost part of Maldives seas and cancel any agreement made by the state that could undermine Maldives sovereignty."
Presidenti Muizzu's address to the parliament comes at a time when he is facing criticism from the opposition for his anti-India stance.
Muizzu, who came to power on an "India Out" plank — a euphemism for the removal of some 80 Indian troops stationed on the island to operate India-given military helicopters — has since engaged with New Delhi on the removal of Indian troops from the island nation.
The governments of India and Maldives on Feb 2 agreed to a phased replacement of the Indian military personnel posted in the South Asian archipelago, Maldivian foreign ministry said in a statement. New Delhi's has stressed on "mutually workable solutions" upon President Muizzu's insistence for removal of Indian troops.
India 'most long-standing' ally: Maldives opposition parties
On January 24, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Democrats, jointly expressed apprehension about President Muizzu's government's 'anti-India stance' in a joint press conference.
At the joint press conference, representatives from the MDP and the Democrats voiced their concerns, stating, "The current administration seems to be taking a clear pivot towards an anti-India stance. Both the MDP and the Democrats believe that distancing from any development partner, particularly the country's most long-standing ally, will be highly detrimental to the long-term development of the Maldives."