Commonwealth has issued a statement voicing disapproval of the actions to impede the opening of parliament by preventing President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik from delivering his presidential address.
Legislators of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Thursday prevented the new president, who is accused by Nasheed of seizing power in a coup, from opening parliament as protests erupted outside the building.
MDP MP's grabbed the Speaker's chair during angry scuffles and stopped President Waheed from addressing the assembly in the capital Male.
Nasheed had called on its supporters to stage Thursday's demonstration against the new government.
"Parliament is the heart of a democracy. The Commonwealth finds it unacceptable that the State Opening of the Majlis of Maldives has been disrupted, and the offices of the President and Speaker have been seriously disrespected," Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma stressed in the statement.
The opening of parliament had been stymied after the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting to consider its response pertaining to the situation in the Maldives had urged all concerned to facilitate the opening of the parliament session and lead to cooperation for necessary constitutional amendment for the holding of early presidential elections.
"Parliament is the heart of a democracy. The leaders of all political parties in Maldives have a solemn responsibility to promote and exercise the utmost restraint,” Sharma further said.
The Commonwealth further encouraged all interlocutors to ensure the swift and dignified opening of the parliament “so that pressing national needs can be debated and advanced”.
CMAG had earlier suspended the Maldives from the Group until the circumstances surrounding the transfer of power on February 7 could be determined.
The Commonwealth joins the US, United Nations and Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) to express dissatisfaction and concern of the events on Thursday and had urged all parties to continue to work collaboratively and peacefully towards solving the political impasse