NEW DELHI: Welcoming India’s strong statement on the Maldives Tuesday, former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed urged the Abdulla Yameen government to adhere to it even as he accused Yameen of ‘ruling down the barrel of a gun.’
In its statement, India had asked Yameen to not extend Emergency+ in the Maldives so as to allow the political process to resume immediately.
“The Government (of Maldives) is unable to extend the State of Emergency legally, because they can’t get 43 MPs to attend the Majlis. And the Constitution states that 43 MPs must be present during a vote on a matter of public compliance,” Nasheed told TOI minutes after the statement issued by the MEA. Maldives’ Parliament or People’s Majlis comprises 85 Members.
“This means that the Emergency, and any extension to it, is illegal. It also means that any actions taken by the Government or security forces using emergency powers are illegal,” he added.
Nasheed recalled how the Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge had been illegally detained. “This means anything decided by the remaining SC justices is invalid. President Yameen is ruling down the barrel of a gun. There is zero legitimacy to anything he is doing,” said Nasheed.
In its statement, India also reiterated that the order issued by the Supreme Court of Maldives on 1 February 2018 be implemented in letter and spirit. Saeed, who passed that order, was later detained by the Yameen government and the Court ruling revoked.
Yameen had placed the country under Emergency+ on February 5 for 15 days citing threat to national security which, the government claimed, had emanated from the Supreme Court ruling. The ruling ordered the release of political prisoners, including Nasheed, and also reinstated 12 MPs, who had been earlier disqualified, allowing the Opposition led by Nasheed’s MDP a majority in Parliament.
The Emergency ended on February 20 but Yameen has sought to extend it. However, his government has not been able to garner enough support from Parliament to extend the Emergency with the joint Opposition boycotting the Majlis.
According to MDP, over the past two weeks, President Yameen also arbitrarily detained 3 MPs, the Vice President of the Maldivian Democratic Party, council members of the MDP, family members of opposition leaders, and a number of opposition activists.
“President Yameen failed to muster the required number of votes to pass his emergency legislation. And so Yameen has ratified and extended the Emergency illegally. This State of Emergency is illegal, and void. All acts undertaken with Emergency powers are illegal. By entirely circumventing the Constitution, President Yameen has, in effect, hijacked the entire state and is ruling the Maldives like a military dictator. President Yameen must also implement the Supreme Court ruling of February 1st, and immediately release the political prisoners,” said Parliamentary group leader of the Joint Opposition, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
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