Politics

Fresh political crisis hits Maldives

Security forces physically ejected protesting MPs from the Maldives parliament yesterday in chaotic scenes during a failed opposition attempt to impeach the speaker and destabilise the president ahead of elections next year.

Lawmakers shouted and stood on their chairs and one tried to remove the speaker’s seat ahead of the impeachment vote, which came a day after exiled opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed announced a unity pact with the president’s powerful half-brother — the former strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Nasheed had hoped that the surprise alliance with Gayoom, who is still nominally head of the ruling party, would provide enough parliamentary support to oust the speaker, but even with that deal the opposition Maldives Democratic party (MDP) apparently failed to win over enough MPs.

At least 13 opposition lawmakers were removed from parliament as a result of yesterday’s ruckus and the rest walked out in protest before the vote, which the government then easily won.

“Government brings in military to occupy the parliament chamber to obstruct and rig the no confidence vote on the Speaker,” Nasheed tweeted during the chaos in parliament.

The opposition leader became the Maldives’ first democratically-elected president in 2008, but was narrowly defeated in 2013 elections by current President Abdulla Yameen.

Nasheed now lives in exile in London after he was convicted in 2015 on terrorism charges widely seen as politically motivated.

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