Maldives emergency extended by 30 days as President Yameen rams move through parliament | World News - Hindustan Times
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Maldives emergency extended by 30 days as President Yameen rams move through parliament

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Feb 20, 2018 10:04 PM IST

The move will anger India, which had called for the emergency not to be extended so that the political process in the Maldives could resume.

President Abdulla Yameen’s regime rammed a 30-day extension of the controversial emergency in the Maldives through parliament on Tuesday, ignoring the concerns of the world community and calls for democracy to be restored in the honeymoon islands.

President Abdulla Yameen has moved closer to China in recent years, signing up for the Belt and Road Initiative and concluding a Free Trade Agreement with Beijing last year.(Reuters File)
President Abdulla Yameen has moved closer to China in recent years, signing up for the Belt and Road Initiative and concluding a Free Trade Agreement with Beijing last year.(Reuters File)

The move will anger India, which had called for the emergency not to be extended so that the political process in the Maldives could resume. Yameen has moved closer to China in recent years, signing up for the Belt and Road Initiative and concluding a Free Trade Agreement with Beijing last year.

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Thirty-eight MPs of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) on Tuesday controversially approved the move to prolong the emergency imposed by Yameen on February 5, hours before it was set to expire, after Speaker Abdulla Maseeh set aside the constitutionally mandated quorum.

The opposition, which boycotted the sitting, said the approval was illegal as it went against the Constitution. They contended that more than half the 85 members of Parliament – or 43 MPs – needed to be present for the vote.

In New Delhi, the external affairs ministry said in a statement that it did not expect the emergency to be extended “so that the political process in Maldives can resume with immediate effect”.

The statement called for democratic institutions, including the judiciary, to be allowed to “function independently”. It added, “It is important that Maldives quickly returns to the path of democracy and the rule of law so that the aspirations of Maldivian people are met and the concerns of the international community are assuaged.”

India also called for the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling of February 1.

The extension will strengthen the powers of Yameen, who imposed emergency after clashing with the top court when it quashed the conviction of nine opposition leaders, including former president Mohamed Nasheed who is in exile, and ordered the reinstatement of 12 disqualified MPs.

Yameen also detained the chief justice and another top judge, accusing them of corruption, and other leaders, including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Later, the three remaining judges annulled the order to release Yameen’s opponents, who were convicted in widely criticised trials.

On Monday, Yameen’s office said the extension of emergency was warranted as a threat to national security had not diminished and a constitutional crisis had not been resolved.

Hours before the Maldivian Parliament rubber-stamped the extension, a group of South Asian legislators said they feared for democracy in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

The “declaration of emergency and arrests and disrespect of the Supreme Court rulings undermine the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary”, Karu Jayasuriya, chairman of South Asian Speakers and Parliamentarians, and Sri Lanka’s speaker, said in a statement.

The UN human rights chief has described the emergency as “an all-out assault on democracy”.

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