FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
2017 review: An 'unholy' alliance redefines Maldives politics
Posted:Jan 2, 2018
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
Its been nearly a decade since Maldives politics has seen a semblance of calm. Since the country's first democratic elections in 2008, the archipelago has witnessed a police mutiny, the premature end of a government, nationwide protests and a marathon presidential election, with a tumultuous political landscape that does not look that it would quieten down.
 
Though no one in the Maldives would be surprised by its politics or the antics of its politicians, 2017 delivered an unfathomable development which took the entire country by shock.
 
The now self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed, in 2008 had ousted former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom after the latter had ruled the country with an iron fist for three decades. Gayoom and Nasheed are as top government officials aptly described 'oil and water'. The best of enemies separated by their thoroughly contrasting political ideologies.
 
But one should never make the rookie mistake of underestimating Maldives politics. And that proved to be the case when on March 24, the unthinkable happened. Gayoom and Nasheed along with Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla inked an 'unholy' pact to form what they called a 'reform alliance'.
 
If one chooses to set aside the differences of the ultimate arch nemesis of Maldives politics the notion of a united opposition can be understood albeit as the last straw remaining for the opposition leaders in the face of oblivion. Incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom had flexed his majority in parliament and the rather taboo 'influence' over the judiciary to suffocate and ultimately do away with the opposition. One by one, the political playing field has been cleared to make way for the younger Gayoom's re-election next year. His elder half brother was unceremoniously deposed from the very party he founded while the rest, Nasheed, Gasim and Imran have been jailed on more than contentious charges.
 
The flailing opposition buoyed by the once unspeakable alliance injected a fresh impetus to its efforts against president Yameen and his government. The alliance targeted the easily swayed lawmakers, convincing as many as a dozen government MPs to back a motion to unseat the parliament speaker and his deputy. For once, president Yameen was forced onto his back-foot as he struggled to hold onto his control over the parliament and such was the relentless pressure it did appear that his term in office would come to a premature end.
 
However, president Yameen played his trump card. His ruling party got the Supreme Court to issue an anti-defection ruling which disqualified the rebel MPs, seizing back parliament control from the opposition. Yameen also indefinitely jailed Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon who was leading the opposition charge against his uncle and quashed much of the resistance.
 
Prison officials taking away Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon who has been jailed after he led the opposition charge against his uncle and incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
 
As the year rolled to a close, the opposition appeared to abandon its efforts to oust president Yameen from office and instead look to next year's elections. But as many expected, the alliance seem to have hit a snag on the 'elephant in the room' -- who it would pick as a candidate to challenge Yameen. With the quartet ruled out either because of the age cap on a presidential candidate or a criminal sentence, and despite assurances to the contrary, cracks in the opposition alliance have already begun to appear.
 
It maybe the start of the new year on the calendar. But with the presidential elections on the horizon, for Maldives politics it would be more of the same. Tumultuous, ugly and full of twists. However, despite the notoriety of the country and its politicians, it seems extremely unlikely that the year could serve up a shock more unthinkable than a Gayoom-Nasheed alliance. But when it comes to Maldives politics, one would be wise not to speak too soon.
 
Avas Online, January 2, 2018
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Thailand will be the coordinating country for India within ASEAN from July. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, the fortnightly journal of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS),  Thailand’s Ambassador to India, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, gave a comprehensive view of bilateral relations and
 
read-more
The struggle for autonomy has been going on within the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) from their inception, writes P.D. Rai
 
read-more
As India and the 10-nation ASEAN bloc culminate the commemoration of 25 years of their dialogue partnership with a summit in New Delhi January 25 that all the leaders will attend, India is laying out the crimson carpet to ensure that the first ever Republic Day celebrations at which 10 ASEAN leaders will be Chief Guests, jointly, is a
 
read-more
The United Nations Security Council concluded a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan in a show of support for the war-torn nation where it denounced the activities of terrorists there, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) announced Monday.
 
read-more
While appreciating the remarkable turnaround by Indian exports during November 2017, Anil Khaitan, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that India has seen a major breakthrough in its exports to China during last few months whereas the surge in imports for Chinese products in Indian market is on deceleration.
 
read-more
“We have a very solid commitment to climate action,” he said. “We cannot be defeated by climate change and we are not yet winning this battle” and the biggest victims of climate change are the developing countries that are members of the Group of 77 (G77).
 
read-more
In a bid to promote trilateral innovation and business opportunities between the US, India, and Israel, Israel-India Technology Group has launched a trilateral fund of $50 million. "We ar...
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: Salafi-Jihadism -The History of an Idea; Author: Shiraz Maher; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 292; Price: Rs 499

 
Column-image

A Review of Anatomy of Failure by Harlan K. Ullman (Naval Institute Press, 242 pages)

 
Column-image

Title: The Beckoning Isle; Author: Abhay Narayan Sapru; Publisher: Wisdom Tree; Pages: 157; Price: Rs 245

 
Column-image

Title: India Now And In Transition; Editor: Atul Thakur ; Publisher: Niyogi Books: Pages: 448; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

Title: The Power Paradox; Author: Dacher Keltner; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 208; Price: Rs 499