In Latest Snag, Police Block Maldives Vote For President

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by Ray, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    In Latest Snag, Police Block Maldives Vote For President

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    A supporter of the presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed, who was ousted as president last year, yelled at the police during a rally on Saturday in Male.

    NEW DELHI — The police in the island nation of Maldives blocked a rescheduled presidential election on Saturday, setting the stage for a potential constitutional crisis if there is no replacement for the current president when his term runs out in November.

    Election commission officials said they could not carry out the planned vote because the police had surrounded the commission’s offices in the capital, Male, and would not allow personnel to do their work.

    The police said they had been forced to act because some candidates had not approved the voter rolls.

    The abrupt cancellation has further dimmed prospects for democracy in Maldives, a country of 350,000 in the Indian Ocean that held its first democratic elections in 2008 after decades of autocratic rule.

    The democratic upheaval began with the resignation last year of the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, under circumstances that his supporters describe as a coup.

    A presidential election was held in September, and Mr. Nasheed won the largest number of votes, 45 percent. But the results of that vote, which were supposed to lead to a runoff, were annulled after one of the losing candidates complained of irregularities.

    N. Manoharan, a Delhi-based political analyst, called the cancellation Saturday “an institutional failure.” He added that, though voters were enthusiastic about participating, “the scales are tilted against democracy.”

    Britain’s foreign secretary, William Hague, said new delays “will be seen as nothing less than an attempt to frustrate the democratic process,” according to Reuters.

    Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, a spokesman for Mr. Nasheed’s party, said constituencies within the police, judiciary and security forces remained sympathetic to the country’s former autocratic leader, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Mr. Ghafoor said those groups had worked together to hamper a democratic transition.

    “There is a mandate developing for the international community to intervene and restrain these undemocratic forces,” Mr. Ghafoor said. “We are in no man’s land right now.”

    Late Saturday, President Mohamed Waheed Hassan proposed that the new vote be held next Saturday.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/20/w...esidential-election-in-the-maldives.html?_r=0

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    Nasheed has won the last election but barely missed the 50% voe requirement and so the re-election as per the Constitutional rules.

    He had been ousted in a coup and replaced by the dictator Gayoom's protege.

    It appears that teh Gayoom faction is hell bent to ensure theat teh power remains in teir hands.

    And India was backing Gayoom!
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
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  3. drkrn

    drkrn Senior Member Senior Member

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    india helped nashed to rise into power crushing gayoom with indian support.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    For more than 30 years, India had supported Gayoom, Asia's longest-ruling dictator, whose rule was marked by a discourse of violence. Yet, in strategic terms, New Delhi hardly gained anything in the Indian Ocean from that relationship. In the same period, China managed wield influence in one of the tiniest nations in the world by building mosques, setting up museums and developing infrastructure.

    And when democracy came, which New Delhi backed after much initial reluctance, thanks to some wrong assessments, the new government under Mohamed Nasheed allowed India to set up radars on the 10 atolls of Maldives - each integrated to India's radar capabilities, giving us an immediate edge in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives, comprising 1,192 islands, stretches for 1,200 nautical miles from north to south and the radars help monitor activities across vast stretches of the ocean.

    New Delhi was also allowed to permanently base two helicopters in the country to enhance its surveillance capabilities and ability to respond swiftly to threats. While the Southern Naval Command integrated Maldives into the Indian security grid, the Coast Guard also carried out regular Dornier sorties over the island nation to look out for suspicious movements or vessels.

    Even the private sector benefited. Indian infrastructure major GMR bagged the multi-million dollar contract to rebuild the international airport, a decision that finally prompted religious extremists and known anti-India figures in Maldives to galvanise themselves and call for Nasheed's head.

    In the late 1990s, Gayoom had come to a secret defence agreement with China to provide an entire island for a submarine base, in return for enhanced arms supplies to the Maldivian army. That agreement, however, did not fructify because of lack of unanimity in Beijing on whether Gayoom could be trusted. But China continued to offer the nation blank cheques from China Development Bank, cultural cooperation via the Confucius Institute, and telecommunications contracts through front entities.

    The Indian Ocean -- a crucial transit zone for maritime trade between eastern Asia and the Middle East - has been strategically and geopolitically high on the Chinese agenda for the past 15 years. Many Indian strategic experts have started fearing that China's "string of pearls" can soon become a reality and encircle India, after Beijing secured contracts to build ports at Gwadar in Pakistan and Hambantota in Sri Lanka, followed by the sealing of a deal with Seychelles in 2011 for the construction of a Chinese naval base.

    Only a week before he was ousted, Nasheed was being pushed by top officers of his armed forces to sign a defence agreement with China, a pact he had been refusing to clear for three months. Those pursuing the Chinese agenda were led by Brigadier General Farhat Shaheer, now the Deputy Chief.

    Given this background, many are wondering why India gave up on Nasheed so quickly after the coup. Clearly, the answer lies with the Indian Foreign Ministry.

    Analysts are asking whether India misread the ongoing political struggle for the second time in four years. On the eve of elections in 2008, the then Indian High Commissioner reported that Nasheed was hardly a force. He recommended continued support to Gayoom. Nasheed won.

    Many say that, this time too, reports from the Indian High Commission shaped initial decisions - New Delhi recognised the new regime on February 8, within 24 hours. This was considered a show of undue haste, something the government indirectly hinted at later. Questions are also being asked about what Gayoom's half-brother Abdullah Yameen, a long-time critic of India, was doing inside the Indian High Commission for over an hour on the morning of the coup, even as Nasheed was being forced by security forces to resign at the headquarters of the Maldives National Defence Force.

    Interestingly, an Indian naval ship, INS Suvarna, was in Maldives from February 3. Strangely, the ship was allowed to leave on the morning of February 7, just four or five hours after information of the serious standoff and the plotting of the coup was received. Just the presence of the ship and some marines in the city could have stopped events from unfolding the way they did.

    Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai soon arrived to Maldives to salvage the situation and called for early elections. The deal was that the new president, Waheed, would announce elections within 24 hours. Nothing happened. On February 28, Mathai again flew down to the Maldives. This time he proposed to all political parties in Maldives that the amendments to the constitution should be made within one month to pave the way for an early presidential election before December this year. But during the two-hour meeting, he was repeatedly reminded by many from the new government, including Yameen's party, that the involvement of an outsider in what was an internal matter was not warranted. Even Gayoom's daughther Dhunya and President Waheed's spokesperson made some uncharitable comments.

    This, after India had handed over $20 million on the evening of February 27 to Mohamed Ahmed, Controller of Finance of the Finance Ministry. Apparently, an additional $50 million is on its way so that Maldives can avoid a sovereign default. All this was happening even as the new government, including the President himself, has backed out from its promise to the Foreign Secretary on holding early elections. The President, Home Minister and State Minister for Foreign Affairs have openly said in the past two days that there is no question of early elections, and that no foreign interference would be tolerated in the matter....

    But with lost credibility and a history of dumping friends - from Burma to Bangladesh and now Maldives, the reality is stark -- India has, as the saying goes, lost the mango as well as the sack in the Maldives. It has lost the goodwill of every democracy-loving Maldivian and has not gained anything from the new dispensation - backed and aided by a cocktail of the military, police, mafia and radicals.

    IBNLive :Sumon K Chakrabarti's Blog :Has India lost the mango and the sack in the Maldives?
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  5. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    That the NY Times refers to the police action as a "snag" shows is just absurd. What the police committed was political oppression. It gives me some insight into the Times worship of Barack Obama.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Britain Warns Against Maldives Election Delay

    Britain warned Thursday that additional delays in the Maldives' troubled presidential election could tarnish the country's reputation and harm an economy heavily reliant on tourism.

    The minister of state at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire, said legal challenges to the electoral process appear to be aimed at preventing citizens from expressing their views at the ballot box.

    "The unacceptable delays to elections and reports of the intimidation of parliamentarians, NGOs and media organizations have been closely watched by the international community," he said. "Further delays could result in greater damage to the Maldives' international reputation and could have a negative impact upon the Maldives' economy."

    The Maldives' Supreme Court annulled the results of the Sept. 7 election, saying the voter registry was flawed with made-up names and those of dead people. It ordered a revote, which police then stopped, saying officials had not complied with all guidelines set out by the court in holding the election.

    Now a third attempt at holding the election has been set for Nov. 9. However, the country could face a possible constitutional crisis if none of the three candidates receives more than 50 percent of the vote because the current presidential term ends Nov.11, five days before a runoff between the top two vote-getters would be held.

    A prolonged political crisis could wreak havoc on the economy in the Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago known for its luxury resorts. Last year, tourism accounted for 27 percent of the country's GDP.

    Swire's statement came a day after U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the Maldives' Supreme Court was "interfering excessively" in the presidential election, thereby subverting the democratic process.

    Maldives President Mohamed Waheed Hasssan on Thursday criticized Pilay's statement as "ill-informed and irresponsible" and said it undermines the efforts of the Supreme Court and the government to strengthen the rule of law in the country.

    "The United Nations must try to better understand the difficulties facing Maldives in their early phase of democracy, and provide support to find solutions rather than issue damaging statements from a distance," Hassan said in a statement.

    The country has faced much political upheaval in the five years since it held its first multiparty election in 2008 after 30 years of autocratic rule.

    The Maldives' first democratically elected president resigned midway through his term amid weeks of public protests and a slide in support from the military and police after he ordered the arrest of a senior judge.

    Britain Warns Against Maldives Election Delay - ABC News

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    The skulduggery of the incumbent dispensation in Maldives is getting everyone's goat.

    Maldives has no option but to comply.
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Other religions will not be allowed under MDP government, says Nasheed

    Religions other than Islam will not be allowed in the Maldives under a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government, former President Mohamed Nasheed reiterated on Friday (November 1).

    Speaking at a campaign event in the island of Velidhoo in Noonu atoll, the MDP presidential candidate said Islam has always been accorded “the highest place” in the hearts of the Maldivian people who “hold sacred the noble principles of Islam.”

    “There will be no room for another religion in this country under an MDP government. This is very clear,” Nasheed asserted.

    Allegations suggesting otherwise by rival political parties “to play with the hearts and minds” of the public were sowing “discord and division” in Maldivian society, Nasheed added.

    Last week, a group of local religious scholars from the Maldives Society for Islamic Research released a 48-page book titled “The word of religious scholars concerning Nasheed,” calling on the former president to “repent” and “return to the true path.”

    The scholars claimed that Nasheed demeaned the Prophet’s Sunnah (way of life prescribed as normative for Muslims on the basis of the teachings and practices of Prophet Mohammed), rejected tenets of Islamic Shariah, and tried to foster public debate over the enforcement of compulsory Shariah punishments.

    Regardless of the winner in the upcoming presidential election, Nasheed assured that there was no possibility of other religions being introduced to the Maldives.

    “That is not something that we should doubt. But the doubt is created because our rivals are constantly using these words. Something that does not exist will exist when you continually talk about it. A lie becomes the truth when you keep repeating it. It enters our hearts as the truth,” he said.

    The religious faith of Maldivians was actually threatened by the MDP’s political opponents, Nasheed contended, because they were “creating suspicion and doubt.”

    Addressing the people of Hinnavaru in Lhaviyani atoll earlier in the day, Nasheed reportedly said faith should not be “shaken so easily” because of what one hears or sees, adding that it was the five pillars rather than “backbiting” (gheeba), spreading rumours, and defaming others that were needed to uphold Islam.

    Nasheed’s remarks follow persistent accusations by the MDP’s political opponents concerning the party’s alleged “securalisation agenda” and anti-Islamic policies, contending that the 100 percent Muslim status of Maldives would be threatened under an MDP administration.

    Political record

    Among Nasheed’s alleged transgressions, the scholars listed the “idolatrous” monuments placed in Addu City, efforts to legalise sale of alcohol in inhabited islands, remarks suggesting addicts should be able to use drugs, and a speech in Denmark in which he allegedly criticised the Sunnah.

    On December 23, 2011, a coalition of eight political parties and an alliance of NGOs rallied at a mass gathering to “defend Islam” from Nasheed’s allegedly liberal policies and conveyed five demands to the then-MDP government.

    The mass gathering followed the release of a pamphlet titled “President Nasheed’s devious plot to destroy the Islamic faith of Maldivians” alleging that the MDP was working with “Jews and Christian priests.”

    Meanwhile, the religious conservative Adhaalath Party – presently allied with the Jumhooree Party and backing its presidential candidate business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim – released a press statement on Thursday (October 31) claiming that the MDP would amend the constitution to allow religious freedom if the party gained a majority in parliament.

    The Adhaalath Party referred to an amendment to the Drug Act recently proposed by an MDP MP to shorten the jail sentence for the offence of refusing to provide a urine sample to police from one year to 15 days.

    “Therefore, in the ‘Other Maldives’ that Nasheed wants to bring, the punishment for a person caught redhanded using drugs is only a 15-day detention. Drug use cannot be encouraged any more than this,” the press release read.

    The Adhaalath Party contended that, with a larger majority in parliament, the MDP would not hesitate to “decimate” Islam in the Maldives and “open up the country to other religions.”

    With the provisional support of nine Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party MPs, the MDP currently has a simple majority of 39 votes in parliament. However, a two-thirds majority or 52 MPs is needed to amend the constitution.

    In the face of religion-based attacks, the MDP has maintained that rival parties were using Islam as “a political weapon to sow discord.”

    In a press statement in September, the MDP reiterated that the party would not allow other religions to be introduced in the Maldives.

    The statement referred to the MDP’s achievements in government: establishing a Ministry of Islamic Affairs, allowing freedom to preach for local scholars, building 42 mosques as well as a number of prayer rooms in schools, training 150 Islamic teachers, strengthening the National University’s faculty of Shariah and law with foreign assistance, opening of an Islamic Bank and the construction of a new government-funded building for Arabiyya School in Male’.

    The party’s 2013 manifesto meanwhile includes the construction of an “Islamic Knowledge Centre” in Male’ for MVR 200 million (US$13 million) that would include a library, lecture halls and a mosque with a capacity 5,000 worshippers.

    Among other policies for the next five years include conducting an international Islamic conference in the Maldives at an estimated cost of MVR 25 million (US$1.6 million) with the participation of renowned foreign scholars, training 300 Quran teachers to first degree level, and allocating MVR 36 million (US$2.3 million) for renovating mosques across the country.

    “We note that all these projects are costed and budgeted and the manifesto includes details for implementation,” the press release stated.

    Other religions will not be allowed under MDP government, says Nasheed-|-Minivan News
     
  8. angeldude13

    angeldude13 Lestat De Lioncourt Senior Member

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    Another country going into ruins in the name of religion of peace.
    Non muslims will be mass slaughtered until they are extinct like they did in pakistan and bangladesh.

    I don't know but i am starting to hate these muslims.
     

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