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Maldives

The experiences of the Maldives and the Arab Spring countries highlight the difficulty of embedding democracy in Muslim nations that have long been governed by authoritarian regimes. Overthrowing the dictator is hard enough, but for democrats, securing the long-term gains of the revolution is proving more challenging.

 
In the last week two Maldivians died in the Syrian conflict. About twenty more are fighting in the war. The news was brought to local papers by a group calling itself Bilad Al Sham Media, which insists furiously that it is run by a group of Maldivians based ‘in Syria, not in the Maldives’.

 

 
 

The government’s non-action, its sanguine reaction to the news of Maldivians fighting in Syria shows that this government tacitly supports Maldivians fighting and killing themselves in the ‘Holy War’ to establish an Islamic state in Syria.

 
It took these words by Nigerian ‘theologian’ and leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau—spoken in a video tape released weeks after the group kidnapped over 200 young girls from their school on 14 April—to shock a couldn’t-care-less world into action.  
 
In the autumn of the first elected democratic government, the Adhaalath Party (AP) brought in major radical reforms and sidelined their original party leadership. The freedom they enjoyed after the 2008 elections became a chance for opportunists among them to seek personal vendettas in politics.
 
This year the United Nations in the Maldives is commemorating the 39th International Women’s Day. The theme for the day is “Equality for women is progress for all”. The Maldives has made remarkable achievements and addressed some critical issues in achieving gender equality.  
 
In a presidential campaign rally in 2008, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom dismissed the issue of death penalty: “Maldivians won’t accept it. The international community no longer accepts it…this can’t be done in the Maldives.”
 
With Maldives Supreme Court serving a ‘contempt of court’ notice on all four remaining members of the nation’s Election Commission (one had quit closer to the presidential polls last year), a case can be for a review of the statutory provision pertaining to the rights, powers, and responsibilities of what in constitutional nomenclature has come to be termed as ‘independent institutions’.  
 
With Maldives Supreme Court serving a ‘contempt of court’ notice on all four remaining members of the nation’s Election Commission (one had quit closer to the presidential polls last year), a case can be for a review of the statutory provision pertaining to the rights, powers, and responsibilities of what in constitutional nomenclature has come to be termed as ‘independent institutions’.
 

Former President and opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supremo Mohamed Nasheed has given what may be seen by some as a timely warning to the nation and incumbent, Abdulla Yameen, about ‘another coup’.

 


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