Parliament in Maldives convenes online with Microsoft amid COVID-19

The People's Majlis in session online via Microsoft Teams

Lawmakers of Maldives in the Indian Ocean are conducting virtual online parliamentary sessions with the help ofMicrosoft 365 as the archipelago with a population of 538,000 faces the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The 87 lawmakers of Maldives are using Microsoft Teams video conferencing technology, instead of physically being present at the parliament house, known as the People’s Majlis, in the capital Malé. Sessions are also being broadcast on television in real time, as well as on social media.

“Parliaments worldwide cannot just stop representing their people during this crisis. The institutions of democracy must continue to function,” said Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, who chairs sessions from the now empty People’s Majlis. “The Maldivian Parliament will go on, meeting online, and all its work will continue unimpeded.”

The legislature had first adopted this solution in January 2019 as a tool for collaboration, due to its security features and its wide capabilities. In light of the COVID-19 situation, lawmakers have moved to fully use Teams for virtual sessions starting last March 30.

On Teams, they can interact in real-time while maintaining social distancing and self-isolation safely at home, all in the knowledge that their virtual interactions are secure.

Tech One Sanje, a local Microsoft partner, helped the People’s Majlis with the right tools to enable this solution. Its team members were also operating in a work-from-home mode and had to do the Teams set-up by remotely collaborating with parliamentary IT staff.