The Honorable Memebers of the People’s Special Majlis who adopted a resolution a year ago to hold a vote of the people to decide the form of government in the Maldives, have some time before midnight yesterday decided on a resolution detailing the Rules of Procedure or "whatever-it-is" that defines how the vote will be conducted by the Elections Commissioner.
The funny thing is this "referendum" (which it is not) is asking the people whether they want a parliamentary system or a presidential system of government. The people are not told in absolutely certain terms what a parliamentary system is or what a presidential system is. People have to make their own judgement on hearsay.
Imagine, having to answer a question from the waiter who asks whether you would like to have meat or fish. A simple question at the outset. But what you choose is what you would have to eat for the rest of your life. And how it would be cooked and how it would be served would be decided by the chef and the waiter. How nice!
On top of that you were never told that if it was meat you chose, it would be pork. And if it was fish it would be riverfish served raw. You have made your choices. The People are asked to make similar choices in this so called "referendum".
We can end up in a form of government that has a president for life or a king. That is possible in a parliamentary system. Why not? We can also end up in presidential system of government like in France or in the United States or of the likes of Saddam Hussain, or Parvez Musharraf. After all, these are all democracies. But does any of these resemble anything that we are after.
I wonder why there wasn’t a third choice – a proper Muslim Caliphate!
Mohamed Shihab / Smile and Let Smile