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Terror attack targeted former President Mohamed Nasheed. Alleged Muslim extremists 6 May detonated homemade explosive outside home of former president and current parliament speaker, Mohamed Nasheed, in capital Malé, critically wounding Nasheed, two of his bodyguards and two bystanders; Nasheed 13 May flown to Germany for further medical treatment; police by 21 May had arrested four suspects. While attack has yet to be claimed, Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party reportedly said religious extremists and political interests could be involved.
During his swearing in ceremony 17 Nov, President Solih vowed to end corruption, investigate human rights violations allegedly committed under former President Yameen and restore justice.
Following his defeat in Sept presidential elections, outgoing President Yameen 10 Oct filed challenge to results in Supreme Court (SC), alleging vote rigging; SC 21 Oct unanimously rejected challenge citing lack of evidence, finding no basis to overturn result. SC 30 Oct overturned exiled former President Nasheed’s prison sentence for terrorism.
In surprise result in 23 Sept presidential elections, united opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih defeated incumbent President Yameen; Solih, who won with 58.3% compared with Yameen’s 41.7%, said vote showed country wanted “change, peace and justice”. Yameen, accused of political repression in run-up to vote, defended his record as president but admitted defeat 24 Sept. Electoral commission 26 Sept said Yameen’s Progressive Party of Maldives had requested delay in publication of final results, sparking opposition concerns it would attempt to annul results; however police and army same day said they would uphold result, and electoral commission officially declared Solih as victor 29 Sept.
Ahead of Sept presidential election Human Rights Watch 16 Aug released report detailing extensive govt crackdown on media, judiciary and political opposition.
EU 16 July warned it could adopt sanctions, including travel ban and assets freeze, on those responsible for human rights violations since Feb imposition of state of emergency and arrest of political opponents.
EU, Canada and U.S. ambassadors 1 June urged govt to hold credible and transparent presidential election. Election commission 8 June announced election date as 23 Sept and invited observers from eight countries, EU and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Exiled former President Nasheed 29 June relinquished his presidential candidacy with opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which next day announced MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solid as its presidential candidate. Court 13 June sentenced former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and two former Supreme Court (SC) judges Abdulla Saeed and Ali Hameed to nineteen months’ jail for obstruction of justice for refusing to hand over mobile phones as evidence to police. Govt 28 June appointed Ahmed Abdulla Didi new chief justice. Indian govt 14 June expressed “deep dismay” at convictions.
Two Supreme Court (SC) judges, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed – both arrested during Feb state of emergency after ordering release of political prisoners – sentenced to nineteen months in jail 10 May, after court found them guilty of influencing lower court decisions; Saeed sentenced to five months 8 May in separate case accusing him of preventing SC from receiving govt letters. Ahead of 30 May primary votes for Sept presidential elections, Elections Commission 20 May announced candidates convicted of a crime would be barred, resulting in rejection of exiled former President Nasheed’s candidacy for opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) primary due to his widely dismissed terrorism conviction, alongside most other opposition leaders. Joint opposition statement accused Elections Commission of being “hopelessly politicised” and “mouthpiece for President Yameen”.
UN Human Rights Committee ruled that exiled former President Nasheed’s terrorism conviction was based on flawed evidence and violated his right to a fair trial, arguing he should be allowed to stand for election; ruling made public 16 April. Maldives govt rejected call, saying conviction was “lawful and final”. EU 19 April issued report following Jan election follow-up mission; report stated electoral conditions had to change “so that the next elections are held in line with international obligations”, noting developments since Feb declaration of state of emergency had exacerbated issues; govt refuted report’s findings, reiterating invitation to international groups to observe electoral process.
Police 16 March arrested 139 opposition supporters for staging protest in capital Malé in defiance of state of emergency introduced in Feb after govt defied Supreme Court (SC) order to release political prisoners, provoking political crisis. Court 21 March charged former President Gayoom, two SC judges and judicial administrator, all arrested in Feb, with terrorism; all four face up to fifteen years’ jail. President Yameen 22 March lifted 45-day state of emergency citing “effort to promote normalcy”, despite remaining “diminished threat to national security”. Exiled former President Nasheed said Yameen lifted state of emergency because he no longer needed it, accused him of introducing “full dictatorship”. India welcomed end of emergency rule but stated concerns “remain to be addressed”; China foreign ministry welcomed return of “social order”. Opposition delegation led by former Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem met U.S. officials in Washington 15 March, called for U.S. to act. Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party 28 March said 32 people arrested during emergency rule are still detained.
Govt launched crackdown on opposition and judiciary after Supreme Court (SC) overturned prison sentence of exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed and ordered release of other jailed opposition leaders. SC 1 Feb ruled trials of Nasheed and other opposition leaders were “politically motivated” and in violation of constitution, ordered immediate release of those in prison and fresh trials; opposition welcomed ruling and staged demonstrations calling for resignation of President Yameen for alleged corruption. SC also nullified verdict which had stripped parliamentary seats from twelve MPs who defected from Yameen’s ruling party in July; their reinstatement would give opposition majority in parliament. Opposition supporters protested in following days after govt refused to release prisoners, sparking clashes with police in capital Malé. Yameen 5 Feb declared fifteen-day state of emergency, during which authorities arrested two SC judges, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and others; govt said it had put down coup, while Nasheed urged India to intervene with military to free judges and political prisoners, and for U.S. to impose sanctions. India called for govt to respect SC verdict; China called on parties to resolve differences “through dialogue and negotiation”. Remaining SC judges 6 Feb reversed 1 Feb decision. UN 7 Feb described govt emergency rule as “all-out assault on democracy”. Thousands joined anti-govt protests across country 16 Feb, clashing with police. Parliament 20 Feb approved extension of state of emergency for 30 days in vote boycotted by opposition, who said vote was “illegal” due to lack of quorum; Supreme Court 26 Feb said extension valid. EU 26 Feb threatened “targeted measures” if situation does not improve.
Plainclothes security forces 22 Aug occupied parliament to block no-confidence vote against speaker and reportedly assaulted opposition MPs; follows late July military lock down of parliament building also to prevent vote to remove speaker. Court 25 Aug sentenced opposition leader Qasim Ibrahim, convicted of bribing MPs to oust speaker; opposition groups denounced conviction as politically motivated.
Security forces 24 July locked down parliament, reportedly on orders of President Yameen in attempt to block scheduled no-confidence vote against speaker, drawing condemnation from Western diplomats; opposition MPs clashed with police preventing them from entering parliament. UN Secretary-General Guterres 27 July expressed concern over “gradual erosion of basic democratic norms and principles” in country, urged govt to uphold rights of speech and assembly.
President Nasheed 7 Feb resigned following days of protests after late Jan arrest of Chief Justice; police mutinied, refused to disperse crowds. Nasheed 8 Feb alleged police and army figures had forced resignation at gunpoint in coup. 32 seriously injured in clashes between pro-Nasheed protesters and police in Malé 9 Feb. New President Waheed, previously VP, 16 Feb suggested possibility of early elections, called for interim unity govt; Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) refused to recognise new leader. India’s FM 16, 29 Feb mediated dispute, reportedly won agreement to hold elections in upcoming months. Group including Islamist hardliners 7 Feb broke into Nat’l Museum, destroyed ancient Buddhist relics.
First multiparty polls 8 and 28 Oct saw 87% turnout, unseated President Maumoon Gayoom after 30 years of one- leader rule. President-elect Mohamed Nasheed, who won 54% of run-off, and Gayoom pledged peaceful transition.
President Gayoom announced strict measures to curb Islamic extremism after September Malé bombing. 16 October decree bans entry of foreign clerics without explicit permission, outlaws full covering for women and promotes moderate Islam in schools. Opposition MDP said move would exacerbate extremism.
Bomb exploded outside Malé mosque 29 September, wounding 12. 10 arrested but no clear motive.
Opposition MDP chairman claimed beaten when detained after 16 April Male demonstrations against alleged wrongful death of man detained on drugs charges.
Maldivian Democratic Party leader Nasheed released after 14-month house arrest under terms of British-mediated Westminster House Agreement. Island uprisings continued; protests against poor infrastructure and corruption recorded on 3 islands.
Jennifer Latheef, daughter of Maldivian Democratic Party founder, rejected presidential pardon for 10-year house arrest on charges of inciting 2003 riot; wanted charges dropped and release of other MDC detainees.
Report released by 5 international NGOs urged Gayoom government to end arbitrary arrest, harassment and intimidation of journalists and dissidents.
Police clashed with opposition MDP demonstrators calling on President Gayoom to remove 29 unelected members of law-making chambers. Over 100 reportedly arrested, prompting EU call for more accommodating approach to opposition. MDP chair Nasheed trial on terrorism and sedition charges resumed 28 May.
Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party held ever internal political party elections in Maldives’ history.
Top Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) opposition figure, Jennifer Latheef, jailed for 10 years on terror charges linked to 2003 riot. MDP leader Mohamed Nasheed awaiting trial.
Riot police arrested dozens of protesters in heated anti-government demonstration calling for President Gayoom’s resignation; 7 injured. Opposition party leader Mohammed Nasheed charged with terrorism for alleged threats of “violent overthrow” if president does not step down or hold elections.
Parliamentary elections - postponed by tsunami - held 22 January. Maldivian Democratic Party claimed it won 18 of 42 seats contested; government put figure at 12. President Gayoom announced plans to establish multi-party democracy within year.
Parliamentary elections planned for 31 December postponed until 22 January after 26 December tsunami caused widespread devastation. Free and fair elections doubted by Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party due to intimidation and refusal to register political parties by Gayoom government. EU diplomats in Maldives called upon government 13 December to ensure democratic elections. Treason charges against 4 prominent opponents of Gayoom dropped in post-tsunami conciliatory gesture.
Government restored some rights removed under state of emergency (declared August), including right to know reasons for arrest; allowed Red Cross access to political prisoners (78 of 185 protesters remain in jail). Pro-democracy activists dismissed move as superficial.
Under pressure for democratic reform, President Gayoom relinquished key defence and finance portfolios 1 September; move met with scepticism from Maldivian Democratic Party. EU resolution 16 September called for release of pro-democracy protesters, end to state of emergency, halt of non-humanitarian aid and travel ban on Maldivian government.
Government detained 5 members of constitutional assembly 18 August. Week earlier, estimated 3,000 protested in uncommon show of dissent, calling for release of political prisoners and reforms. More than 180 protesters detained.
Newly formed Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) claimed several arrests made before 14 February protest march for justice and freedom. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom previously pledged political reform and commitment to right of expression. Government denied arrests were politically motivated.
Situation seems stabilised after capital, Malé, rocked by unprecedented anti-government riots in September. After October referendum reinstated President Gayoom (sole candidate) for sixth five-year term, he sacked attorney general and another cabinet minister for attempting to register a political party (opposition parties are banned).
After unprecedented anti-government riots rocked capital, Malé, in September, referendum held 16 October reinstating President Gavoom (sole candidate) for sixth five-year term.
Unprecedented anti-government riots rocked capital, Malé, after police killed three prisoners (a fourth died later) during jail riot. Amnesty International accused President Gayoom, about to seek sixth term in office, of running repressive government.
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