Fac­ing Sus­pen­sion

Southasia - - Briefing -

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.

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