Maldives election chaos fuels ‘banana republic’ fears: AFP

“The Maldives embraced multi-party democracy in 2008 hoping to emerge a modern nation. Five years on, there are fears the honeymoon islands are becoming a ‘banana republic’ ready to implode,” writes the AFP.

“The political crisis came to a head Saturday when police blocked elections designed to restore stability after the first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Nasheed, was toppled 20 months ago.

But observers say there should be no surprise at the turmoil as key institutions are still run by followers of the country’s long-time dictator who never accepted Nasheed’s 2008 victory.

‘After a long tradition of one-party rule, the Maldives is now fast becoming a banana republic,’ said regional defence analyst Iqbal Athas.

‘My real fear is that all this political unrest can turn into violent chaos,’ added Athas, associate editor of the Colombo-based Sunday Times.

Athas said instability could have consequences for regional security because of the huge Indian Ocean trade.

The 1,192 tiny coral islands of the Maldives may be home to only 350,000 mainly Sunni Muslims.

But scattered some 850 kilometres (530 miles) across the equator, they are an important location along east-west sea trade.

Pro-Western Nasheed, a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, was forced to resign following a mutiny by police who are still thought to be loyal to former autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, 75.

It was the same police force that prevented the independent Elections Commission from going ahead with Saturday’s presidential poll, which Nasheed, 46, was widely expected to win.

Given that Nasheed was widely forecast to win an outright majority in Saturday’s vote, its scuttling came as no surprise with the Supreme Court having also played its role.

Nasheed’s main challenger, Gayoom’s half-brother Abdullah Yameen, was a distant second to Nasheed in a the first round of voting held on September 7.

But the result was annulled by the Supreme Court last month following allegations of irregularities in voter lists, although foreign monitors gave the polls a clean chit.

By stipulating that all candidates had to approve the voter lists, the court effectively gave Nasheed’s challengers carte blanche to block a vote they were sure to lose.”

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One thought on “Maldives election chaos fuels ‘banana republic’ fears: AFP”

  1. I hope that somebody like J.J. Robinson directs Mr Nasheed's attention to what I'm saying from the hills of Sri Lanka.

    He will probably remember my meeting him when he was under house arrest in 1994 (or possibly the previous year) in a house more or less behind the Galolu Grounds. He may remember my telling him that there are some Maldivians whom I have known for more than fifty years (although I'm not in my dotage yet!). I'm following events closely. If you inconvenience the public too much all these demonstrations may backfire on you.

    The stories I hear of garbage piling up in Male, an ambulance carrying a really sick apolitical patient being damaged, kids sitting their Cambridge O. Levels being distracted by all this chaos - these are not things that the average households will welcome. Individual lives must still be lived out; not everybody can jeopardise their future owing to abstract concepts of freedom and justice.

    It is right to be angry about the attempt to hi-jack the elections, but "inconveniencing" (I know what a weak word that is!) the citizen going about his petty humdrum hum drum daily routine is not going to endear Anni to the silent majority.

    It may be that you should NOT publish this particular comment of mine; instead please convey this message from a sincere admirer of his.


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