ISSN 2330-717X

What’s Behind Maldivian President’s Resignation? – OpEd


By Polina Chernitsa

On February 7, President of the Republic of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed resigned.

One day later, Mohamed Nasheed’s supporters held a many thousands-strong rally in the main square of the country’s capital Male. According to reports, Mr. Nasheed himself was among them.

The rally resulted in a clash with the police who had to use tear gas.

Analysts are not unanimous in their assessments of the Maldivian events. Some of them say that Mr. Nasheed’s voluntary resignation prevented a possible bloodshed in the country. Others say that now, a threat exists that Islamists may come to power in Maldives, and this would be the worst scenario.

It looks, however, that these pessimistic analysts changed their view overnight, since on Tuesday they were more optimistic, saying that this was a good sign that the Maldivian president resigned on his own will.

However, Mr. Nasheed himself denies that his resignation was voluntary. He said that he was forced to resign, nearly at the point of a gun.

The rally of his supporters on Wednesday can also hardly be called peaceful. Reports say that they threw stones at the police.

In spite of all this, Indian analyst Nandan Unnikrishnan assesses the change of power in Maldives rather positively:

In fact, Mohamed Nasheed resigned because of mass rallies of the opposition. The opposition claimed that Mr. Nasheed’s recent dismissal of a high-ranking judge was unconstitutional. Allegedly, the president dismissed the judge because the latter was linked with the opposition.

According to another version, the protesters were dissatisfied with the fact that Mr. Nasheed had closed several spa salons and hotels which belonged to people linked with the opposition. The protesters’ dissatisfaction can be well understood if we take into account that tourism is the main, if not the only, source of income for many Maldivians and for the state as a whole.

After Mr. Nasheed’s resignation, the power, according to the constitution, came to Vice President Mohamed Manik.

“The situation in Maldives showed that the “Arab Spring’s” scenarios with violence from the sides of both the government and the opposition have not yet become popular in South Asia,” Nandan Unnikrishnan believes.

However, other experts do not share Mr. Unnikrishnan’s optimism. They say that Vice President Mohamed Manik is linked with ultra-reactionary circles, and this may have very sad consequences for Maldives.

In an interview with the Voice of Russia, another Indian analyst, Professor Arun Mohanty said:

Analysts also note the position of India in this affair. As it is recognized by many, India is the most influential state in the South Asian region and can afford dictating its will to neighboring countries.

When, in 1988, the Maldivian army was trying to oust Mohamed Nasheed’s predecessor, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, India sent its forces to help Mr. Gayoom to stay in power.

Some days ago, Mr. Nasheed asked for similar help from India. But this time, India refused to help him, saying that it would be wrong for a force from abroad to interfere into Maldives’ internal conflict.

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VOR, or the Voice of Russia, was the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service from 1993 until 2014, when it was reorganised as Radio Sputnik.

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