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Monday, February 5, 2018 11:10:30 PM
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A testing time for the Maldives

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06th-Feb-2018       
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Once again the serene paradise-like island the Republic of Maldives has been gripped with political instability. The fraught Maldives government on Sunday ordered police and troops to resist any move by the Supreme Court to arrest or impeach President Abdulla Yameen over his refusal to release political prisoners. The Supreme Court on Thursday night ordered the authorities to release nine political dissidents and restore the seats of 12 legislators who had been sacked for defecting from Yameen's party, ruling the cases were politically motivated.

The Maldives government on Monday night declared a state of emergency for 15 days, which will give security officials extra powers to arrest suspects. Earlier, the Maldives State Health Minister Hussain Rasheed resigned protesting the government's decision to not enforce the Supreme Court order freeing opposition leaders from prison.

Political instability anywhere within the SAARC region has a negative ripple effect over regional politics. Need of the minute; the island nation should find out a solution to the political stalemate by arranging an all-party dialogue, which the United Nations has agreed to facilitate. Apart from the UN, the international community should also engage in this regard. The governments of European countries-of which more than a million tourists are now enjoying holidaying in Maldives-- should ensure it is run democratically.

We expect the UN to prevent all types of 'uncalled for political and military interventions led by any third party country' within the SAARC region. Reasonably enough, earlier we have witnessed how a military campaign led by a regional power, titled 'Operation Cactus' intervened in the island nation in 1988 for the sake of 'restoring discipline' by only pro-longing one-man rule in the Maldives for another 19 years. This should not happen again. The ruling and opposition political parties in that country must respect the Supreme Court order.

Maldives has appeared vocal in terms of condemning the Rohingya crisis and decided to cease all trade ties with Myanmar until the Myanmar Government would take measures to prevent the atrocities against Rohingya Muslims and repatriate them accordingly.

The nation lost much of its democratic gains after President Abdulla Yameen was elected in 2013. Since then he has maintained a tight grip on power-controlling institutions such as the judiciary and the police. He has been set to run for re-election this year virtually unopposed, with all of his opponents either jailed or exiled. There are similarities in the current political situation between the Maldives and a few south Asian countries.

We are deeply worried over the political woes erupting in the island nation. It's a testing time for the Maldives and its democracy.

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