Week in review: April 13 – 19

The disposal of around 120 animals confiscated from people’s homes stole the headlines this week, amid confusion as to why the decision to destroy the animals was made, and by which institution.

As part of a joint operation conducted on Saturday (April 12), relevant government authorities instructed police to confiscate all pets suspected of having been illegally imported.

These animals were promptly destroyed by the MNDF, while the fate of the slow loris – endangered in more ways than one – remained unclear as interested adoptees continued to face financial and bureaucratic obstacles.

Bureaucratic obstacles continued to hinder President Abdulla Yameen’s attempts to place his nephew in the role of Prosecutor General as the Majlis failed to return enough votes to approve Maumoon Hameed’s nomination.

Home Minister Umar Naseer this week lamented the ‘oversized democracy inherited by the government, suggesting bureaucracy was thwarting his anti-drug camaign.

The government’s attempts to centralise control of the nation’s mosques through amendments to the Religious Unity Act met with greater successful as the president ratified the changes shortly before departing to Japan on an official state visit.

Prior to boarding the plane to Tokyo, Yameen told the press that he had been unable – and unwilling – to meet the demands of Indian company GMR for an out-of-court settlement regarding the terminated airport development deal.

It was revealed that the government will now await the outcome of the arbitration proceedings, expected within the next two months after hearings concluded this week.

Yameen’s trip to east Asia saw the Japanese government thanked for its generous history of developmental assistance in the Maldives as well an open invitation for private investors to continue the tradition.

Back on the home front, President Yameen acknowledged that the distribution of government positions among coalition partners had generated some tension, after rumblings of discontent from coalition leader Gasim Ibrahim.

No such discontent was found in a survey conducted by the Tourism Ministry this month which found 98 percent of tourists would recommend the Maldives as a holiday destination.

Eighty percent of those surveyed reported having holidayed within an hour of the capital Malé, a trend Addu City Council hopes to change with the establishment of a guest house promotion board in the country’s southernmost atoll.

The heavy concentration of tourists in Kaafu atoll brought the opposite response from Malé City Council, who passed a resolution opposing the development of Kuda Bandos – the only local picnic island available to the overcrowded capital’s residents.

Meanwhile, the Department of Heritage hopes to draw the attention of visitors to the Maldives’ cultural treasures, organising an exhibition of the country’s coral mosques as attempts to make UNESCO’s world heritage list continue.

The Ministry of Environment maintained that the country’s natural heritage can still be preserved if the world commits to a 1.5°C cap on global temperature rise, with Minister Thoriq Ibrahim pledging to increase renewable energy to 30% in the next 5 years.

Elsewhere, the High Court is now considering over a dozen election-related complaints following last month’s Majlis poll – though the arguments posited by Kaashidhoo MP Abdulla Jabir received short shrift from the Elections Commission’s lawyer.

Jabir’s Maldivian Democratic Party announced it would hold an event to mark Labour Day next month while taxi drivers failed to present a united front in protests against new regulations due to be implemented this week.

DhiFM remained steadfast in its defiance of the Maldives Broadcasting Commission – responding to criticism for posting upside down pictures by posting a similar image of the commission’s chair.

Corruption charges were pressed this week against controversial Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed, while the Anti Corruption Commission asked the state to pursue charges against a former state minister for undue expenditure on sports activities.

Minivan News also took time this week to talk discuss the future of hydroponics in the country’s agriculture as well as interviewing the Maldives’ first female DJ.


Week in review: April 6 – 12

In a varied week of news, protests, primates, and possessed plants all featured in the headlines.

The top story of the week, however, involved the tragic death of two port workers in Malé, killed by faulty equipment in an accident the union suggested could have been avoided.

Beloved public health figure Dr Ahmed Razee also passed away this week after more than three decades of public service.

Meanwhile, tests run following the death of a Malé resident the week before revealed high levels of opium and benzodiazepine in the blood of the youth – released from rehab just 24 hours earlier.

Statistics from the Drug Court this week revealed that 101 individuals have completed the mandatory rehab programmes that had been prescribed since the court’s introduction in August 2012.

The case of a Russian woman accused of smuggling drugs into the country was sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office, while the passport of the doctor who signed the form allowing a convicted drug dealer to leave the country was held by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

The ACC were also occupied with investigating alleged wrongdoing in the Ramazan night market contract, with the commission telling the new city council that the deal had been terminated last year – to the bemusement of Go Media, the company currently organising this year’s event.

Police were also kept busy with the recent rush of child abuse cases, with commentators unsure as to whether the recent spate of incidents represented a rise in offending or a greater willingness to report such crimes.

One crime not reported to police this week was the apparent offence committed by a Jinn tree upon the residents of Haa Alif Thakandhoo, who took matters into their own hands, breaking into the school compound to hack down the accused.

Campaigners in neighbouring Haa Dhaalu atoll continued to gain support for their calls to bring resort development to the atoll, with the government assuring that the tourism industry’s ever-growing spoils would be equally distributed.

Teachers campaigning against pay discrepancies wore black to work this week, while civil servants seeking equal pay discussed a potential strike later in the month.

The Bar Association suggested that the government had failed to adequately consult the legal profession regarding new regulations to practice, as well as calling for the suspension of Chief Justice Ali Hameed after his alleged involvement in a sex-tape scandal.

The government’s plans to raise revenue continued this week, with MIRA expecting to receive an additional MVR110 million per year through the taxation of telecoms – revenue that will be essential should the soon-to-be concluded GMR arbitration case go against the state.

The Home Ministry was chastised for its failure to adhere to the schedule of the recently-implemented Anti-Torture Act, while the Environment Ministry revealed that euthanasia may be the only option left for the slow loris confiscated by police earlier this year.

The alcohol possession trial of departing MPs Abdulla Jabir and Hamid Abdul Ghafoor was postponed when the former was unable to attend after suffering health problems while in jail.

Legal challenges to March’s elections results continued to rise, casting doubt on the identities of a number of future MPs, scheduled to be sworn in on May 28.


Week in review: March 9 – 14

This week’s headlines were largely dedicated to the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the senior leadership of the Elections Commission (EC) on charges of contempt of court and disobedience to order.

The decision – which also included a six month sentence for EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek – brought international condemnation as well as universal praise for the work of the commission.

The EU observer mission, currently in the country for the scheduled March 22 poll, quickly pointed out the considerable “time pressure” on a timely and credible election.

Domestically, both the Maldivian Democratic Party’s Mohamed Nasheed and the People’s Majlis declared the decision unconstitutional.

The Majlis Secretariat relayed this message in writing to Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz and senior government figures, while a Majlis committee stated that it still considered the dismissed members to be elections commissioners.

Alternatively, government supporters quickly backed the decision, with President Yameen saying that the government would abide by the ruling. Yameen also criticised the opposition’s discussion – conducted without a resolution – of boycotting the polls.

The President’s Office rounded on the court’s international naysayers while the chief justice said that the international statements included “falsified claims, and undermine the respect and authority of the Maldivian judiciary”.

Fears that the EC would not be able to conduct the election without its quorum were soon assuaged, however, as Ismail Habeeb – nominated to the commission after the resignation of the fifth EC member last October – was approved by the Majlis.

The PPM has called for the final two places on the commission to be filled before the elections, though Speaker Shahid has prorogued parliament until after the vote.

Other news…

Elsewhere this week, police seized 24kg of what was suspected to be heroin in their biggest haul to date, while repeated confiscation of unusual pets during drugs raids – as well as a python on the streets of Malé – prompted customs to tighten security in order to prevent the import of illegal animals.

The export of legal animals – in the form of Halal certified fish – is a policy the Islamic Ministry this week claimed was generating great enthusiasm.

Leaders at the Chamber of Commerce rounded on the EU’s trade policies with regards to Maldivian fish, suggesting a fisherman’s protest could be on its way.

One protest did arrive this week, at the international airport, as staff demonstrated against bad bonuses and worse food.

The Human Rights Commission was summoned to the Juvenile Court after repeated attempts to discuss a report the court claimed misled the public about the handling of the infamous 15 year old flogging trial.

Maldivian Development Alliance leader Ahmed ‘Sun’ Shiyam was presented to the Criminal Court this after failing to attend previous hearings regarding his alleged attempts to smuggle alcohol into the country in 2012.

Already in custody, Maldivian Democratic Party MP Abdulla Jabir learned this week that he would remain during his appeal case for his recent conviction.

Finally, local NGO Advocating for the Rights of Children (ARC) launched an anti-bullying campaign in Malé as well as a new network to support the rights of disabled children.

Meanwhile, the Maafushi jail inmate – left in a coma with critical head injuries after being attacked by cellmates last month – was flown to Sri Lanka for further treatment.


Week in review: February 22– 28

A tragic incident at the country’s main public hospital – IGMH – caused outrage this week as it was revealed that HIV infected blood had been given to a patient.

Profuse apologies from the Home Minister were not enough for the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) who accused the government of hiding the news for eight days in order to complete the celebrations of its first 100 days in power.

Earlier in the week, Minivan News was informed that certain operations at the hospital had been suspended owing to the lack of the necessary staff safety equipment. The week had begun with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid pledging US$10 million for the renovation of the Indian-built facility.

The introduction of unlimited health insurance had already been announced earlier in the week. The ambitious pledge is soon to be followed by larger pensions, both of which are set to be sustained through the issuance of government debt.

Promises for completion of the long-awaited Malé-Hulhulé bridge within two years were also given, though development of the central atolls appeared to be coming at the expense of the Addu – the country’s second-city.

High priority is being given to the housing situation of police officers, while the fisheries minister launched a training scheme for long-line fishing, arguing that deviation from the country’s traditional pole-and-line approach was important to utilise all fishing grounds.

The Supreme Court’s decision to prosecute the Elections Commission (EC) on contempt of court charges prompted alarm this week from both representatives of the EU and Maldivian civil society, who demanded the court “earn the respect of the people”.

The EU called upon the government to ensure the EC’s independence in the run up to the March 22 parliamentary elections. Despite the government’s financial restrictions on EC spending, the commission has assured that polls will be unaffected.

While on the campaign trail, the MDP’s Mohamed Nasheed warned that the people of the country would not tolerate further electoral interference, labelling the ongoing court case “unjust”.

While Nasheed assured that his party does not intend to obstruct the government should it win a majority, President Yameen remained unconvinced, assuring voters that the MDP would attempt to remove him.

Yameen also rounded on the current members of the country’s legislature, arguing that the public had lost confidence in the institution. The recently jailed MP Abdulla Jabir was this week cleared of further cannabis possession charges – his lawyers have suggested his earlier conviction violated his constitutional rights.

The Criminal Court’s running feud with the Prosecutor General’s Office continued this week, with the PG’s Office accusing the court of overstepping its authority when introducing new time limits for the forwarding of cases.

In the Civil Court, a dispute over an oil trade agreement between the State Trading Organisation and Villufushi constituency MP Riyaz Rasheed was thrown out after the former’s legal team failed to show up.

Further agreements on oil trade could be on their way, however, as the the national oil company announced it was searching for outside assistance for further exploration projects.

Though well-qualified to discuss oil, Saudi Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz was reported to be visiting the Maldives in order to talk about potential investments in tourism, transport, and Islamic affairs, as well the provision of a soft loans to the Maldives.

One avenue of Saudi investment into the country was confirmed this week, with a prominent investment firm from the kingdom making plans for a US$100 million resort in Laamu atoll.

Maldivians seeking to travel in the other way may have to delay their plans, however, after both the Civil Court and the Anti Corruption Commission ordered the Islamic Ministry to halt the awarding of contracts for Hajj trips pending investigations into the bidding process.

Elsewhere this week, the second case of forced child prostitution in the country’s southern atolls, while an inmate at Maafushi jail suffered severe head injuries during a fight with other inmates.


Week in review: February 16 – 21

The Maldives’ judiciary continued to dominate headlines this week, in particular the Supreme Court’s decision to use privileged Majlis testimony in its case against the Elections Commission.

Citing the establishment of justice as a fundamental tenet of Islam, the court declared the evidence admissible in its ongoing contempt of court case.

Speaking at a campaign event for the Majlis elections, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leader Mohamed Nasheed suggested the Supreme Court was fearful of an MDP majority in the parliament, pledging judicial reform should this happen.

On the lower benches, televised claims of bribery within the judiciary by Civil Court Judge Aisha Shujoon prompted both the Anti Corruption and the Judicial Services Commissions to launch separate investigations.

The JSC’s investigations into Shujoon’s claims will take place without the Majlis’ representative MP Ahmed Hamza, however, who has been removed as a result of his standing for re-election.

The Human Rights Commission this week called upon the Majlis to expedite the appointment of a new Prosecutor General (PG), before the Criminal Court finally agreed to accept new cases from the Deputy PG.

The court was immediately presented with 20 new cases, although the PG’s Office has said the backlog will take a month to clear. This may hamper new court regulations which requires the office to file criminal charges within 45 days of arrests being made.

The court did find time this week to sentence MDP MP Abdulla Jabir to one year’s imprisonment for failure to provide a urine sample to police in late 2012.

Three more cases are likely to land on the PG’s desk in the next six weeks after police arrested two Bangladeshi men and one woman in Malé for pre-marital sexual relations. For those recently married foreigners, however, the Maldives continues to be the number one holiday destination, an online poll revealed.

Fears were raised by the Tourism Employees Association that the amount of service charge disbursed to resort workers was being reduced as the government plans to raise taxes on the industry. An IMF delegation in the country noted its surprise at the resilience of the economy, suggesting that taxes on the industry were still relatively low.

The new nominee for the governor’s position at the central banking authority suggested that increasing local productivity and reducing reliance on imports – on which 75 percent of the country’s dollars are spent – was vital.

During the SAARC Council of Ministers’ Meeting – hosted on Bandos resort – President Abdulla Yameen stated his belief that trade and commerce were the “magic wand” for achieving the regional association’s goals.

Earlier in the week, while campaigning for the Progressive Party of Maldives, Yameen had labelled the Nasheed government’s transport policy corrupt, vowing to reclaim land given to private companies for ferry services.

He also said that the government would not be seeking to expedite Nasheed’s trial, though he did suggest that the former president must be sentenced for the arrest of Judge Abdulla Mohamed in 2012 if the rule of law is to be upheld.

The police’s campaign to reach out to the nation’s youth continued this week with the third ‘Blues for Youth’ camp. Home Minister Umar Naseer told participants that there was “no task too menial or lowly for a Maldivian”.

Meanwhile, Naseer signed an order shutting down Malé’s Dharumavantha Rasgefaanu mosque after an unauthorised congregation had prayed for the government’s destruction.

As Yameen’s administration approaches the one hundred days’ milestone intact, the policy to provide greater access to healthcare was introduced in Villinigili – albeit on a more modest scale than initially promised.

In nearby Gulhi island, a pioneering desalination project was launched by the UK’s Aquiva Foundation. The project – a joint venture with STELCO – will produce drinking water using the excess heat from electricity generators.

Further north, Alifushi island council has complained that emergency drinking water supplied to the island arrived contaminated with dust and bacteria.

Finally, the Olympic Committee this week announced plans to increase female participation in sports, setting a target of 33 percent of contingents sent to major international games to be women.


Week in review: November 30 – December 7

The past week has seen the administration of President Adbulla Yameen make tentative steps towards resolution of the country’s dire economic situation.

The Government of China offered the Maldives US$8.2million in grant aid for development projects. Reports also emerged in Indian media of its government being on the verge of unfreezing a credit standby facility – initiated before the recent deterioration in bilateral ties.

The New Indian Express suggested that the official announcement would be made during Yameen’s visit to India, also announced in the past seven days.

Further aid flows for climate change adaptation projects were also forthcoming, with the European Union pledging an additional €4million to the €34million given since 2009.

Solid progress on the 2014 budget continued to elude the government this week, however, with the submission of details to parliament delayed for the fourth time as the finance minister awaited further specifics about the administration’s plans.

Specific designs for the long-awaited construction of a bridge linking Malé and Hulhumalé were requested by the government, although foreign investor confidence is unlikely to have been improved by the Maldives’ failure to appear on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for the second consecutive year.

Meanwhile, confidence in the country’s tourism industry remained undiminished at the World Travel Awards in Qatar, where the Maldives collected the prize for ‘World’s Leading Island Destination’.

Politics, police, and protecting Islam

Despite prior promises of leniency from the government, Maldivian Democratic Party MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor was briefly imprisoned this week after the Supreme Court revoked a number of parliamentary privileges.

Hamid – who has cited parliamentary privileges to defend himself against contempt of court charges – spent just hours in Maafushi jail before the High Court overturned the Criminal Court’s six-month sentence.

Fellow MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy led the Parliamentary Privileges Committee in suggesting that the Supreme Court was compromising the independence of parliament.

Elsewhere in the Majlis, MPs from all sides of the political divide took to the floor of the house to support a constitutional amendment further safeguarding Islam’s position as the country’s sole religion.

The police this week recommended that the Prosecutor General’s office pursue charges against Raajje TV’s CEO and its head of news for a report criticising the Supreme Court. Police also detained an individual in relation to the arson attack that destroyed MDP-aligned Raajje TV in October.

Less progress was reported in the case of Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed’s sex-tape allegations, with police admitting they have been unable to identify the individual widely reputed to be Hameed. The police did, however, promise that more information from abroad may yet shed light upon the issue. Local media had suggested that police investigations had been thwarted by the Criminal Court’s failure to provide the required warrants.

Retired Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz was honoured this week by his former colleagues prior to his move into the political arena.  Home Minister Umar Naseer used the celebrations to order police to remove any material that might incite hatred against the force.

The fostering of dissent within its own ranks was the reason given for further dismissals within the military three senior officers were dismissed, whilst 34-year veteran Lieutenant Colonel Zubair Ahmed told Raajje TV that he had been forced to retire from the MNDF.

The Defence Ministry this week threatened action against any media outlets who criticised its disciplinary procedure, subsequently receiving censure itself from the Media Council.

Finally, preparations for the January 18 local council elections continued in the past seven days, with government-aligned parties – excluding the Adhaalath Party – deciding to divide seats up amongst themselves to maximise their prospects. The opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party hopes to arrest its declining fortunes going into future polls by rebranding its party color, logo and slogan.


Week in review: October 26 – November 1

The biggest headlines in the Maldives this week came out of the People’s Majlis, beginning with the MNDF going into the parliament to block the entrance of two opposition MPs who had been stripped of their seats by the Supreme Court.

After some scuffles, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ali Azim was handed over to police, who subsequently extended his detention to 15 days.

Azim had arrived to take part in the emergency session which eventually passed a motion supporting the transition of presidential power to the speaker of the house should no president-elect be determined by November 11.

After calling on the MNDF to ignore the Supreme Court’s decision to remove Azim and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party MP Mohamed Nashiz, Speaker Abdulla Shahid took the decision to appoint a serjeant at arms to oversee future security at the Majlis.

The constitutionally protected status of the Majlis premises was used to full advantage by MDP MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor this week who sought sanctuary from arrest by police who wished to present him in court in relation to drug and alcohol offences.

After threats to try Hamid in absentia, the Criminal Court sentenced him to six months in prison for failure to attend hearings.

The Majlis also found time this week to receive the MVR16.4 billion (US$1 billion) budget for 2014, as well as accepting a bill that would criminalise calling for, endorsing, or taking part in a tourism boycott.

One person not present in the Majlis this week was now-former Attorney General Azima Shukoor, who was removed in a unanimous vote of no-confidence. This day’s proceedings were not without additional incident, however, as mysterious pills – rumoured to be laxatives – were found in a Majlis’ coffee machine.

The week’s events will not have reassured the Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, who wrote to Speaker Shahid requesting an urgent visit to the country to assess the situation.

Mandatory excess

MPs were not the only ones feeling persecuted this week, as Supreme Court took aim at MDP aligned broadcaster Raajje TV for allegedly defaming its reputation.  The station – decimated in an arson attack earlier this month – also reported fresh threats against its premises.

The Maldives Media Council and Reporters Without Borders joined station management in arguing that the police were acting outside of their mandate, encroaching upon an investigation that rightly fell within the purview of the broadcasting commission.

Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz warned media outlets that action would be taken against anyone found to be reporting “invalid information, if it relates to courts or judges”.

After levelling similar accusations against the police in relation the delayed election, the Human Rights Commission this week told Minivan News that it felt the police were now attempting to intimidate its staff.

It was the Supreme Court itself, however, that came in for the most stinging criticism this week as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay launched an offensive on the apex bench, accusing it of “interfering excessively in the Presidential elections”.

After being accused of “subverting the democratic process”, the Chief Justice quickly hit back, labelling Pillay’s comment “irresponsible” and “poorly researched”.

Reputation at stake

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office also expressed its concern this week that repeated delays to the presidential election could hurt the Maldives’ economy as well as its international reputation – something not helped by an attack on the Indian High Commissioner’s official vehicle.

FCO minister Hugo Swire urged stakeholders to allow the Elections Commission “the space needed” to prepare for the elections – a request not heeded by either the government nor the presidential candidates who pleaded with the EC to move polls forward in order to avoid the impending constitutional void.

The Elections Commissioner responded that an expedited poll was not possible, regardless of any amount of government assistance – not even the police’s new-found ability to verify fingerprints at 25 times its previous speed.

Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek also revealed that the EC had found at least four of the 18 people deemed dead by the Supreme Court annulment to be alive and “quite fed up”.

MDP candidate Mohamed Nasheed told the press of diplomatic murmurings regarding likely economic sanctions should no new president be found by November 11.

He went on to suggest the way out of the impasse might be for either one of the three candidates to pull out of the  poll, or for the Supreme Court to un-annul the first round – making the November 9 poll a two horse race.

Finally, the World Economic Forum’s gender gap index found the Maldives a mediocre place to be a woman, with the country scoring highly in terms of education and health but falling behind in economic and political parity.


Week in review: October 12 – 25

The past fortnight has been dominated by the build up to, and the fallout from, the re-scheduled presidential elections. Due to take place on October 19, the poll was delayed at the eleventh hour when police blocked the removal of documents from the Elections Commission (EC).

The police’s decision – later criticised by the Human Rights Commission as well as the EC – came after the EC had been unable to obtain the signatures of the candidates as mandated by the Supreme Court for the completion of the voter registry.

Both Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Jumhooree Party (JP) candidates had broken off contact with the EC, just as the commission neared completion of a frantic drive to re-register over 70,000 voters in less than two weeks.

The EC’s efforts were further placed in jeopardy by the court’s maintenance that any concerns regarding fingerprint verification must be addressed – a task that the commission maintained was beyond its capacity.

Re-registration was made harder still when PPM and supporters of its coalition ally the Maldivian Development Alliance (MDA) caused chaos in the re-registration queues after a systems malfunction. The police were again criticised by the EC for failing to come to its aid in a timely manner, with Chair Fuwad Thowfeek (fore-)telling Minivan News “there are people who want to block this vote”.

The police subsequently defended its role in delaying the election.

JP and PPM officials re-surfaced in the afternoon prior to the polling date to state that they would not sign the register without further verification – of 10 and 5 percent of fingerprints, respectively – before both parties returned to the Supreme Court, requesting the further delay of polls.

When the court failed to accede to these requests, the police obliged, prompting the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to take to the streets in a peaceful sit-down protest that covered the length of Male’s main thoroughfare and beyond. In a rousing speech MDP candidate Mohamed Nasheed vowed to “establish good governance in the Maldives”.

Two nights of these protests followed, as did meetings between the EC and political parties, before the election was moved to November 9 – with a potential run-off scheduled for the 16th. The Supreme Court, however, has already deemed that its prior guidelines must be followed to the letter.

After deciding to withdraw his own candidacy for the new poll, President Waheed publicly expressed his doubt over credibility of the scheduled October 19 vote.  Waheed also stated his refusal to acknowledge the five percent vote he had received in the first (annulled) poll.

In his latest foray into Maldivian politics, British businessman Richard Branson revealed this week that he had been on the verge of writing to Waheed to congratulate him on his handling of the democratic process before the vote’s deferral.

Waheed’s calls, the day before the scheduled vote, for parties to cease obstructing polling fell on deaf ears, as have his calls for conciliation. Waheed suggested to Indian media that he would threaten to resign if necessary, a sentiment strongly supported by Nasheed.

Fierce rhetoric has refused to abate in the aftermath of the cancelled vote, with the two presidential coalitions launching attacks on the EC, after having focused on one another prior to the 19th.

JP presidential candidate and MP Gasim Ibrahim called for the Majlis to declare a state of emergency in order to pursue criminal charges against the EC and Chair Fuwad Thowfeek – whose superhuman efforts prompted an outpouring of support from the public.

Meanwhile, the prospect of the court invalidating Nasheed’s candidacy altogether remains on the table as PPM council member Ibrahim ‘Wadde’ Waheed refused to defer to the requests of his leaders and withdraw his court case.

The MDP – who now enjoy a Majlis majority with the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) – tabled multiple no-confidence motions against senior cabinet members, as well as legislation to ensure the orderly transition of power from the executive to the speaker should the presidential term end (on November 11) without a successor having been chosen.

This flurry of activity in the legislature prompting the Supreme Court to fast-track the suspension of two MPs on charges of decreed debt.


Aside from the elections, the police received continued criticism from Raajje TV regarding the station’s arson attack, with its chairman seeking international assistance to find the perpetrators.

One officer who failed to return from accompanying the ballot box to the UK was caught out on social media as he tweeted about his attendance at Arsenal’s Champions League game this week.

Following a suicide in Male’ in a location frequented by drug users, the National Drug Agency warned of a potentially lethal drug in circulation.

Finally, global climate justice NGO 350.org told Minivan News this week that the recent IPCC report only strengthened the world’s need for climate justice advocates such as former President Nasheed.