New Delhi: President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has lifted a 45-day-long state of emergency.
According to the official statement from the President’s office, “The announcement of a State of Emergency was precipitated by a Constitutional Crisis created by two Justices of the Supreme Court who conspired with political actors to violate both the Constitution and standard legal norms and practices in order to illegally overthrow a lawful Government, and whose actions constituted an imminent threat to national security.”
Following the actions taken under the State of Emergency, all constitutionally created independent institutions of horizontal accountability function with their full powers and authority. The three branches of the State remain independent and the checks and balances enshrined the Constitution are safeguarded. Though there still exists a diminished threat to national security, because the nation can now continue without further losses incurred, and upon the advice of the Security Services and in an effort to promote normalcy, the President has decided to lift the State of Emergency.
The State of Emergency was declared by a Presidential Decree (No. 2018/3) issued on 5 February 2018 for national security reasons. It was extended via a resolution of the Parliament on 20 February 2018 for a period of 30 days, applicable only to those under investigation for crimes relating to the Constitutional Crisis. This extension was deemed valid by a decision of the Supreme Court on 26 February 2018.
India has welcomed this move. “We welcome the revocation of the State of Emergency in the Maldives. While this is one step towards addressing the issues related to the prevailing political situation in that country, a number of concerns expressed by the international community still remain to be addressed,” the release stated.
India has also called upon the Government of the Maldives to restore all Articles of the Constitution, to allow the Supreme Court and other branches of the judiciary to operate in full independence, to promote and support the free and proper functioning of Parliament, to implement the Supreme Court’s Full Bench order of 1 February 2018 and to support a genuine political dialogue with all opposition parties.
It is important for the Government of the Maldives to ensure credible restoration of the political process, as well as the rule of law, before the elections are announced this year.
As a neighbor whose security is closely intertwined with that of the Maldives, India wishes to see a stable, peaceful and prosperous Maldives that meets the aspiration of its citizens.
Observers believe that the pressure from India and the U.S. triggered the end of the state of emergency. Calling the situation unconstitutional, ex-President Mohamed Nasheed, who is currently in exile, had called on India to send its military and a special envoy to free the political detainees. In response, India beefed up patrols in the Indian Ocean around the island nation.