Diplomacy Politics

India keeps a close watch on Maldives amid demands of not letting president go out of country

New Delhi, Oct 18: Election process in the Maldives is complete and the new President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is about to take over on November 17 amid the outgoing president Abdulla Yameen challenging the election and demanding a fresh poll. On the other hand, the incoming president wants the police not to allow the outgoing president to leave the country and India is keeping a close watch on the development in the island country.

Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “India has consistently held the position since the imposition of emergency early this year that there was a need to protect democracy in the Maldives and preserve the mandate of the people. India welcomes the acceptance of the verdict of the people of Maldives. This election marks not only the triumph of democratic forces in the Maldives but also reflects the firm commitment to the values of democracy and the rule of law. We are confident that the mandate of the people will prevail.”

He said, “We have welcomed successful completion of the third Presidential election process and have congratulated Solih on his victory. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to President-elect Solih and offered his personal congratulations. Other world leaders have also welcomed the successful conduct of the elections. In keeping with our ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy, India looks forward to working closely with the Maldives in further deepening our partnership.”

Meanwhile, Solih has urged police to impose a travel ban on outgoing President Abdulla Yameen so he can face investigations in connection with graft cases that the party aims to launch. Solih won presidential elections on September 23 but Yameen petitioned the Supreme Court challenging his election defeat.

Chairman of Solih’s Maldives Democratic Party, Hassan Latheef, said that Yameen would face inquiries related to the suspected misappropriation of funds at a state-owned agency that promotes the leasing of islands for resort development, in the first of several cases. “A travel ban against President Yameen must be instituted. There are several cases pending investigation including cases of corruption,” he said after filing a petition before the police.

But an Islamic country with less than half a million people suffered a turbulent transition to democracy following the end of three decades of authoritarian rule in 2008. Solih had won the election on the promise of cleaning up corruption and would pursue cases vigorously.

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