The Edition


Maldives seeks EU assistance to overcome constitutional crisis

27 February 2018, MVT 23:18
EU officials after meeting with opposition
27 February 2018, MVT 23:18

The Maldives on Tuesday appealed to the European Union (EU)’s assistance to overcome the deadlock on constitutional conventions faced by the nation.

The government’s appeal, released by the foreign ministry, coincides with a statement issued by the European Council on Monday warning the Maldivian government of potential “targeted measures” on its officials if the state of emergency is not lifted immediately, with the “immediate release of all political prisoners”, and if it fails to fall in line with democratic principles and separation of powers.

In the warning issued by the foreign relations council of the EU, it had called on the government to “immediately lift the state of emergency, and restore all constitutionally guaranteed rights” to the citizens. It had also called for the “immediate release of all political prisoners,” and condemned the politically motivated arrests.

However, responding to the EU council’s warning, the statement released by the foreign ministry stated that the government appreciated the European Union for standing with the Maldives during this difficult period.

The opposition is currently criticizing the government’s stance, alleging that the actions taken do not indicate that the government was genuine in its efforts despite the EU’s warning.

Meanwhile, the Maldivian Ambassador to the European Union and Belgium, Ahmed Shian, had welcomed the statement issued by the EU, and stated that he was confident that the body would not impose any sanctions on the country.

Further, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had assured that the Maldives would continue to work with the European Union and expressed gratitude for its continued support in strengthening the democratic structures and framework of the country.

The President’s Office had claimed that while the government was acting to solve the current turmoil, it had also appealed to the opposition to reengage in political dialogue.

The government had justified the 30-day extension to the original 15-day state of emergency declared by the president on February 5, by stating that it had faced a constitutional deadlock after the apex court ruling of February 1, which had posed many national security threats.

A part of the unanimous ruling, issued by the full bench of the Supreme Court on February 1, had ordered to free nine prominent political figures. However, with the declaration of the state of emergency, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed of the Supreme Court were arrested; the remaining three justices of the apex court had later nullified this part of the ruling.

After referring to the Supreme Court ruling that nullified the part on releasing political figures, the President’s Office had claimed that there was no longer any legal mandate to implement the Supreme Court ruling of February 1.

It had also claimed that the measures taken by the government was to ensure national security and constitutional order to uphold the rule of law and to safeguard the peace and stability of the nation. The government assured that the state of emergency would be lifted as soon as the threats posed to national security were addressed satisfactorily.

While responding to concerns about the security of foreign nationals residing in the country and tourists visiting the Maldives, the government had assured unwavering commitment to ensure their safety.

The government assured that the state of emergency was declared without imposing a curfew and does not affect the daily life of citizens, businesses, service providers or tourists visiting the country.