Transparency Maldives under the Parliament Accountability Project conducted in the hope of increasing public understanding of the Parliament’s role, function and practices, and, by extension, generate public demand for Parliament accountability and transparency, undertook a baseline research on floor crossing in the Maldives.
As an organization that focuses on good governance and the elimination of corruption in the Maldives, it is imperative that Transparency Maldives’ interventions focus on building public confidence in key representative institutions such as the Parliament. Floor crossing is an issue that is often discussed in the Maldives alongside speculation of corruption in the process of floor crossing. However, there is limited understanding of why and how floor crossing occurs, and how public perceives this.
Corruption, particularly grand corruption, is endemic in the Maldives but there is no evidence to suggest that with every party defection or floor crossing there is a flow of illicit enrichment behind it. However, considering the lack of transparency in asset disclosure by public officials in the Maldives, coupled with the public perception that corruption is high in the Parliament, it is important that best practices are adhered to, in order to ensure that floor crossing does not open a gateway for illicit enrichment and becomes a reason for public to lose trust in the Parliament.
Transparency Maldives undertook this research on the basis that understanding of public perception on floor crossing will provide insight into why the public lacks confidence in the Parliament. It is hoped that international best practices and case studies of defection laws and practice in other countries will broaden stakeholder understanding of floor crossing and provide a baseline to take the discussion forward.