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Maldives
Fewer than half of Maldives lawmakers voted on Wednesday in favour of leaving the Commonwealth, highlighting deep divisions over last week’s decision by President Abdulla Yameen to sever ties with the group of mostly former British colonies.  
 

The Maldives has seen a stunning 90 per cent plunge in its maternal death rate over the last 25 years, the largest such drop in the world over this time period, according to joint United Nations estimates.

 

As world leaders gather this week in New York for the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) will also meet on the sidelines to discuss democracy and human rights standards in the Maldives. The oversight body, tasked with addressing serious or persistent violations of Commonwealth political values, will meet for the third time this year – a rare feat in its institutional history.

 
The first democratically elected president of the Maldives said from exile in Britain that he has an agreement with the country's former strongman to counter the current president, who is increasing his stranglehold on power.  
 

In the years since he came to power in 2013, critics of the president have often found themselves in exile, imprisoned and silenced. Knowing this all too well, Rasheed opted for the least unpleasant alternative and boarded a flight out of the country a week before the documentary’s release. On Wednesday, the day after the film was screened, she was followed out by former auditor general Niyaz Ibrahim, who had helped expose the scam.

   
 

Ten years ago was a time of optimism and change in the Maldives. In 2008, the free and fair election of Mohamed Nasheed ended a 30-year dictatorship and a new constitution gave the impression that democracy was established. It wasn't. Today is anything but. The Maldives has had the same experience as other autocratic nations where the words "democratic reform" are pronounced. The reform process has been moulded to fit the interests of the political players and spawned a disfigured democracy.

 

President Abdulla Yameen of the Maldives is threatening the stability of the Indian Ocean region by making the country increasingly dependent on a single country, his political opponent and former president Mohammed Nasheed has said.

 

Democrats and dictators are at it again in the Indian Ocean, churning the waters for their shot at immortality. Except in this version of the ‘samudra manthan,’ former president of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed is allying himself with former autocrats, promoters of coups as well as confirmed Islamists in order to unseat the man responsible for the successive waves of unrest washing over this coral paradise on earth, current president Abdulla Yameen.

 
 

The Maldives is facing a critical juncture, as civil unrest grows, and the government of President Abdulla Yameen continues to lose support. Since coming to power in 2013, Yameen has enacted a series of increasingly draconian laws, changes which have led to widespread political and public opposition. 

 
 
The Maldives legalised criminal defamation on Tuesday in a move the opposition said was aimed at stifling dissent in the Indian Ocean archipelago and which was criticised by the UN and the US. Best known as a paradise for wealthy tourists, Maldives has been mired in political unrest since Mohamed Nasheed, its first democratically elected leader, was ousted in disputed circumstances in 2012.
 


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