The Maldives currently finds itself in a precarious situation, marked by growing political violence within the country and possible suspension from the Commonwealth. Under heightened protests and an interim government grappling for legitimacy, a Maldivian National Commission for Inquiry (NCI) was set up to investigate what really happened on February 7, 2012, when democratically elected President Nasheed was apparently forced to resign at gunpoint. While the current government of President Waheed, comprising a number of Gayoom loyalists, has vehemently denied all such allegations, the NCI is expected to conduct investigations and present a coherent account of the events that transpired.
However, in an effort to be more assertive, during its last meeting on April 16, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) warned that it will consider “stronger measures” if the terms of reference and composition of the Maldivian National Commission of Inquiry is not “amended within four weeks in a manner that is generally acceptable and enhances its credibility.” The possible threat of suspension over refusing to conduct an inquiry, has led to a political outcry within the country with major political leaders calling on the Parliament to withdraw the Maldives from the Commonwealth. Former President Gayoom has also publicly criticized the Commonwealth’s character as having changed from being supportive of smaller member-nations to becoming the power-base of the bigger ones.
Given the inherent instability of the island nation that serves as an important strategic and economic route for both India and China, disengagement with the Commonwealth may have severe consequences for the country’s stability.