Thursday evening President Maumoon would meet the 1700 odd members of the former Maldivian Government Service, whose services were discontinued from 1 May 2008. They were refused a place in the in the newfound Civil Service of the Maldives, sighting a legal requirement to severe all service contracts with those above the age of 65 years.
The President did make a last ditch effort to revise the law before its lawful implementation date, by introducing amendments that would suspend the retirement clause for those in government service for upto two years. His amendments were thrown out of parliament by a majority DRP house with 50 parliamentarians of whom 8 were presidential appointees.
Having failed to convince his party colleagues including his own appointees of the need for a more humane approach to introducing a retirement age for the first time, in Maldives; the President has sought to meet with all the retirees personally at a forum of sorts, like never before.
I believe we will see at this function, that the President does not run out of options; and that parliament sanction is not a matter of caution to the President. I have a very strong gut feeling that he will exercise a new form of authority; not a presidential decree but exercise his right of Presidential Options.
What are the Presidential Options for Thursday night?
The first Presidential Option would be to require the Civil Service Commission to contract the outgoing retirees for a period of two years in the positions that they filled before 1st May 2008. The second Option would be to make Presidential Appointments to complement the Civil Service and require the Minister of Finance to pay salaries to the appointees. The third Option would be to form a Presidential Service and engage the retirees in community development efforts for a period of two years.
None of the above options can be censured by parliament. It would indeed be a folly or even partial suicide for the opposition to cry foul.