Male, February 27 (newsin.asia): The Maldivian government on Monday appealed to the European Union (EU) to help resolve the on-going constitutional crisis in the country as the EU Foreign Affairs Council presented a seven point set of demands with a threat to impose “targeted sanctions” if these were not met.
The Maldivian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that the government appreciates the EU for “standing with it” in this difficult period. It sought EU’s help to facilitate the ongoing efforts to resolve the current constitutional crisis, and to return to normalcy.
It assured that it will continue to work with the EU and its member countries and appreciates the support and cooperation that the European Union is continuing to extend in strengthening the electoral, governance and democratic structures and framework.
“As reiterated in a number of public statements and conveyed to the Ambassador of the European Union to the Maldives, the Government of Maldives remains firmly committed to upholding the Constitution and the rule of law,” the government statement said.
“The Government is committed to resolving the current situation and has invited all political parties for a dialogue.
“The Government has welcomed the initiative of the Election’s Commission to begin preparations for this year’s Presidential election, and is engaged to ensure a fair and stable environment for the conduct of those elections.”
“The Maldives looks forward to having a free, fair and credible Presidential election in September of this year, and requests the support and guidance of all relevant stakeholders,” the government statement said.
The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union (EU) on Monday adopted a seven point conclusion which included a call to Maldivian institutions to immediately lift the State of Emergency and restore all constitutionally guaranteed rights.
The Council condemned “politically motivated” arrests and called for the immediate release of all political prisoners. It condemned any interference with the work of the Supreme Court of the Maldives and actions taken against the judiciary and the judges.
The council expressed concern over the possible impact of the current situation also on the security of foreign residents and visitors, including tourists.
“The current situation is not in accordance with the principles of democratic rule and separation of powers,” the council said.
“If the situation does not improve, the Council may therefore consider targeted measures,” it warned.
The council called on the government to engage with the opposition in genuine dialogue that paves the way for credible, transparent and inclusive presidential elections later this year adding that the EU is ready to support the United Nations (UN) to facilitate such dialogue.
Less than a day after the arrest of two Supreme Court justices Abdulla Saeed and Ali Hameed, the remaining three judges rescinded its ruling to release the political leaders referring to the concerns raised by President Yameen in the letters he had sent to the Chief Justice hours before State of Emergency was declared.
The accusations against Gayoom included bribing lawmakers and judges to influence their authority while the deposed ruling party leader has also been accused of creating discord within the security forces to back the overthrow of his half-brother’s government.
The two top court judges are accused of accepting bribes to influence Supreme Court rulings, abuse of power and blocking the functioning of the entire justice system.
In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the now rescinded order included Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and Gayoom’s lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.
Former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb’s uncle Hamid Ismail make up the rest of the list.
State of Emergency
A State of Emergency was declared on February 5, 2018 was extended for further thirty days by the Parliament due to the threats posed to national security following the Supreme Court Order No. 2018/SC-SJ/01, issued on 1 February 2018, following which the State found itself facing a Constitutional deadlock.
The Supreme Court Order of 1 February 2018 was nullified, in part, by the Supreme Court by its Court Order no 2018/SC-SJ/03, issued on 6 February 2018.
Other parts of it were suspended by its Court Order No 2018/SC-VA-J/01 issued on 18 February 2018.
In its decision to extend the State of Emergency on 20 February 2018, the Parliament lifted some of the restrictions imposed on the Constitutional Articles under the State of Emergency and declared the State of Emergency to be applied only to individuals alleged to have carried out illegal activities in connection to the Supreme Court Verdict of 1 February 2018,” the Maldivian government said.
“The measures taken by the Government were 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 will ensure that the State of Emergency is lifted as soon as the threats posed to national security are addressed satisfactorily,” the government had said in a statement.
“The Government reiterates its unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety and security of foreign nationals residing in the country, as well as tourists visiting the Maldives on vacation,” it added.
(The Featured image at the top shows the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting)