Legal Politics

Crisis in Maldives hots up as State of Emergency heads for review next Tuesday

MDP protest

Male, February 18 ( The political situation in the Maldives is hotting up and the attitude of overseas powers towards the on-going conflict there is changing as President Abdulla Yameen prepares to either renew the 15-day State of Emergency or end it next Tuesday.

While the opposition parties are becoming belligerent, India and the UN have shed their indifference and have indicated an intention to intervene politically.

Opposition Protests

According to Maldivian Independent , thousands gathered across the Maldives on Friday, to call for the arrest of President Abdulla Yameen and lift the State of Emergency .

Protests organized by the Maldives United Opposition (MUO) were held in more than 15 islands. There were 23 arrests, with politicians and journalists among those detained.

There were also protests about Yameen’s refusal to obey a Supreme Court order to release top opposition leaders and two judges of the Supreme Court and reinstate 12 MPs as per a court order.

Around 20 constitutional rights were suspended under the State of Emergency declared on February 5.

Police told the crowds that protests were not allowed in Malé and used pepper spray on demonstrators. Police also closed down the nearby office of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

But protesters reconvened at around 8 pm at the capital’s main road to demonstrate at Chaandhanee Magu junction. Traffic there was held up for more than two hours. There was a protest outside the opposition Jumhooree Party’s headquarters all. Police erecting barricades outside it, and pepper spray ed the demonstrators.

Riot police wearing masks and carrying shields charged at people and also told the media not to broadcast events live from Malé.

Hussain Hassan from RaajjeTV and Leevan Ali Nasir from VTV were arrested at Majeedhee Magu at around 11:30 pm. They were later admitted to hospital for treatment with 20 other reporters.

The Vice President of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Abdul Raheem Abdulla, said that action should be taken against media outlets that spread discord.

‘All the work done by RaajjeTV and VTV is to incite hatred and violence in this country. The work to misinform and put the public into a state of panic. The work of spreading discord,’ he said.

Meanwhile the police have been preventing opposition MPs from entering parliament.

Maldives police block off parliament

Problem of Ratifying Emergency

President Yameen may have difficulty in getting parliament to ratify the State of Emergency which he had declared on February 5 because he may not have the majority to do it.

According to the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party Spokesperson Hamid Ghafoor, out of the total of 85 seats, the ruling Progressive Part of the Maldives (PPM) has only 38. But it needs 43 MPs to get ratification.

Participating in The Huddle organized by the Indian daily The Hindu Maldivian opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed said that President Yameen would not end the Emergency until the detained Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed resigns.

In Nasheed’s view Yameen intends to disqualify all potential rivals in the September 2018 Presidential elections and make it a one horse race.

The appeal for international intervention is primary for preventing Yameen from doing that, Nasheed said.

Detained Gayoom Refuses to Cooperate

Meanwhile, the imprisoned former President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, said that he would not cooperate with the investigators in the sedition case slapped against him.

His lawyer told the media that in Gayoom’s view, his arrest was illegal and unconstitutional.

India Is Now Ready To Mediate

With the time coming for President Yameen to take a decision on either renewing or ending the Emergency, India began to show interest in intervening.

On Saturday ,the Spokesman of the Indian External Affairs Ministry, Ravish Kumar, said India will be ‘keenly monitoring Maldives’ actions preceding the conclusion of the on-going State of Emergency.’

Kumar said that India’s approach to Maldives is different from China’s. India opposes China’s contention that Maldives should be allowed to resolve the crisis internally. India feels that regional countries could play a progressive role in averting a deterioration of the situation.

UN Too Ready To Mediate

Meanwhile, Stephane Dujarric , Spokesperson of the UN’s Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said that the UN will soon commence ‘peace talks’ with the inclusion of all political parties in the Maldives.

“We are ready to engage in full capacity,’ Dujjarric said.

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