NEW DELHI: India expressed its ‘deep dismay’ over the 30-day extension of the Emergency in the Maldives on Wednesday. This comes a day after India’s strong note against any such extension. Meanwhile, a local report also quoted the Maldives election commission as saying it was planning to hold Presidential elections in September.
In a press release on Wednesday morning, New Delhi said, “The manner in which the extension of the State of Emergency was approved by the Majlis in contravention of the Constitution of Maldives is also a matter of concern. The consequent delay in the resumption of the political process and the continuing suspension of the functioning of democratic institutions including the judiciary is likely to further delay restoration of normalcy in Maldives. It is important to ensure that all democratic institutions are allowed to function in a fair and transparent manner in accordance with the Constitution.”
Earlier in the day, the Maldives foreign ministry had issued a note “appreciating” the concerns expressed by the international community, and pledged that “the State of Emergency will be lifted as soon as the threats posed to national security are addressed satisfactorily”.
Asserting that there was no legal mandate to implement the Supreme Court order reinstating opposition MPs, it urged the international community to stand with the government and “to refrain from any actions that could escalate an already delicate situation and derail the efforts being made to bring back normalcy in the Maldives”.
According to one local television channel, the Maldivian election commission had apparently agreed to hold Presidential elections in September, and said that it would start candidate registration in July.
“After having arrested all opposition leaders, hijacked the Supreme Court, and having made Parliament redundant, Government appointed EC announces elections to be held in July. As things stand, there will be nothing free or fair about it,” said a political aide to opposition leader and former President Mohamed Nasheed, who lives in exile.
Nasheed, who was in India recently for a media event, has been repeatedly seeking military intervention by New Delhi to restore democracy in the tiny archipelago barely 400 km from the Indian mainland.