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EU worried about Maldives as stalemate continues

world Updated: Jul 02, 2010 20:21 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

A worried European Parliament (EP) has said the ongoing political crisis in Maldives could have a negative impact on the country’s economic development.

Maldives which is already fighting a heavy budget deficit and alarming coastal erosion in several of its 1192 islands now has to fight political uncertainty after its national cabinet resigned en mass on Tuesday citing problems with the opposition-controlled Majlis (Parliament). The deadlock continued on Friday.

``…we are therefore particularly concerned at the recent events that have led to the resignation of the Cabinet. We believe that such political instability could have a crucial impact on the social, economic and tourism development of the country, which needs stability in order to capitalise on its location,’’ the EP said in a statement.

It said that the EP had expressed its constant support to the Maldives in their democratic reform process and welcomed, following the adoption of a new constitution in August 2008, the first multiparty presidential election in October the same year. ``This election was assessed by an EU Election Expert Mission and considered “free and fair” by international observers,’’ the statement said.

``In view of the developments in the Maldives, and at the request of several Members, the European Parliament's Delegation for relations with South Asia intends to discuss the situation in the Maldives at its next meeting, to take place in Brussels on July 15th,’’ it added.

The Maldives government welcomed the statement and said ``the European Parliament, as the democratically elected component of the European Union, continues to be a key element of the Maldives’ interaction within the European Union sphere.’’

Mohamed Nasheed was elected in October 2008 for a five-year term while the majlis was elected at separate election in May 2009, also for a five-year term.

Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has 28 MPs and the support of four independent MPs in the 77-member Parliament.