We have seen a lot of tensions in the last weeks in Maldives and president Mohamed Nasheed resigns amid protests. What’s next for Maldives? Any chance the country will slip back to the more or less autocratic regime? Any danger the Islamists can take over?
Animesh Roul, Society for the Study of Peace and Conflict
Today’s event in Maldives was not unexpected. Since early 2010, Gayoom and Islamists combined made things worse for the outgoing president with instigated public protests, vandalism across the island nation. Again we have seen sporadic protests with regular intervals in 2011 too, in the pretext of price rise, anti-Islam policy of the govt and last but not the least the arrest of a corrupt and controversial Judge in mid Jan 2012.
Amid all these i can see a Islamist conspiracy and which is winning over people for sure. And some of Nasheed’s wrong steps (like arresting a judge) fueled opposition against him and ultimately his ouster. This is bad omen for Maldives and the region.
Purnendra Jain, Professor, President, Asian Studies Association of Australia, Centre for Asian Studies, University of Adelaide
The tensions have been simmering for quite some time as a result of irreconcilable differences between the three branches of government; the executive, legislative and judiciary. President Nasheed decided to quit as he could not handle the rising tensions and street protests that resulted. Dr Mohammed Waheed, the former Vice President who took over as President when Nasheed resigned, is from a different political party (National Unity Party) while Nasheed led the Democratic Party. While the new President has promised to restore peace, further violence and street protests can’t be ruled out.
As a result of the unrest and street protests, it is likely that tourism will suffer and as a result its economy as Maldives is heavily dependent on foreign tourists.
It’s a huge setback to the nascent democratic state – eyes around the world will be fixed on this tiny island nation of less than 400,000 people – as to which way it turns after experimenting with democracy for less than 4 years. The real test will be the next presidential election due in 2013.
The world saw the diplomatic charm offensive of President Nasheed through his speeches on climate change at global forums and his declaration to make the Maldives a carbon neutral nation by 2020.
Nalini Kant Jha, Professor & Dean, School of Social Sciences & International Studies, Pondicherry Central University
The recent events in Maldivers really represents retrograde move. The former President Nasheed had taken a bold initiative of introducing democracy in a country, which was under the military regime since long. Unfortunately forces related to the old regime has brought instability. But President Nasheed too is not free from blame. He had only a very thin majority in the last elections. Hence he should have been more cautious and tried to develop consensus before making bold policy decisions. But he took several major steps ignoring the political arithmetic.
The Islamic forces are of course very much active now. However, there is a move by the present government to develop a broad consensus on the road map for the future of Maldives. Hence, the chances of revival of democracy in Maldives in not too week. India has done well not to take any side in the internal matter of Maldives.