The biggest headline of the week was captured by Home Minister Umar Naseer after he ordered correctional authorities to make preparations for the implementation of the death penalty – currently under a sixty year moratorium.
Speaking with the media upon his return from Sri Lanka – President Abdulla Yameen said that the home minister’s decision had not been discussed with the cabinet.
During his state visit Yameen was reported to be considering access through Maldivian waters for passing Sri Lankan fishing vessels. He is also said to have revealed his decision to reject the proposed status of forces agreement (SOFA) with the United States.
Opinions on the president’s fisheries policy – as well as the policies of Malé city council – were expressed this week as Minivan News visited the capital’s famous fish market to talk about the state of the industry.
The government’s plans to expand the tourism industry were discussed this week as Minivan News interviewed cabinet minister Ahmed Adeeb, while the Home Ministry’s focus on the illegal drugs trade continued as police seized MVR300,000 worth of drugs – along with an endangered primate – from a house in Malé.
The president’s foreign policy also took shape – with a clear emphasis on economic self-sufficiency to facilitate independence and protect sovereignty.
Whilst bilateral ties between India and the Maldives were celebrated with the launch of the Dosti-Ekuverikan week, opposition spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor told Indian media that the country had “failed” Maldivian democracy during recent political turmoils.
The week began with the local council elections, and finished with the final results of the 1,100 contests still not yet known. What was clear was that turnout was low on the day – a report from Transparency Maldives suggested the system was failing up to one third of voters who live and work away from their registered island of residence.
The Elections Commission (EC) introduced the public displaying of ID card photographs to help prevent voter fraud, though the decision quickly brought complaints from religious leaders regarding the exposure of women who have since started wearing the veil.
November’s second-placed presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed subsequently suggested that the clear existence of voters without photographs in the presidential poll registry indicated “serious fraud in the presidential election”.
The Maldivian Democratic Party figurehead went on to suggest that victory for his party in March’s parliamentary elections would see impeachment proceedings initiated against President Yameen.
Never far from the headlines, the Supreme Court’s role in the recent presidential elections continued to make news. The EC suggested that the Police Integrity Commission had shied away from examining key evidence used to annul the first round for fear of casting doubt on the court’s verdict.
Criticism of the verdict broadcast on Raajje TV resulted in this week’s decision by the broadcasting commission to order an apology from the station. Villa TV was similarly ordered to offer apologies for comments said to have defamed MDP candidate Nasheed.
Former Attorney General Husnu Suood was suspended from all courts pending the police’s investigation into his alleged contempt of court during the annulment trial. Suood suggested the decision may be linked to his role in the investigation of Justice Ali Hameed’s role in a sex tape scandal.
The Judicial Services Commission – charged with investigating the Hameed case – revealed its new regulations which will involve the periodic review of judge’s performance.
Meanwhile, the deputy prosecutor general appealed to the Supreme Court after the Criminal Court failed to resume normal activities – having previously halted proceeding pending the confirmation of a new PG.
Elsewhere in the Maldives this week, the auditor general revealed that the Defence Ministry had illegally purchased nearly MVR7 million of goods during 2011. This week also saw the first case of unfair dismissal filed in relation to the nine senior military officers removed amid internal murmurings during the controversial presidential race.
Finally, the Maldives was selected for a US$6million concessionary loan from Abu Dhabi for assistance with clean energy projects.