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ANFREL Statement on Maldives

February 7th, 2018

Press Release
February 7, 2018

ANFREL statement on the imposition of the 15-day State of Emergency in the Maldives

Bangkok, Thailand -- The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) expresses deep concerns on the
actions done by the Government of the Republic of Maldives which has undermined all efforts to build
the foundation of a genuine democracy, and calls for the lifting of the 15-day State of Emergency and
restoration of the fundamental rights of its people.
The Supreme Court of Maldives ordered on February 1 the release of opposition lawmakers, including the
former president Mohammad Nasheed; as well as the reinstatement of 12 lawmakers who switched sides
to the opposition. With the release of the 12 lawmakers, the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives will lose
its control of the 85-seat parliament.
Starting February 2, various mass actions were held to support the Supreme Court decision, and to
peacefully urge the Executive Branch, headed by President Abdulla Yameen since 2013, to obey the order.
The peaceful demonstrations became clashes after the police started to use tear gas and batons to break
up the gatherings. Journalists were also barred from covering the clashes.
The protests prompted the declaration of a 15-day Emergency Period Decree on February 5 which grants
the police and security forces wide powers to arrest, search and seize properties, and restrict freedom of
assembly. Following the declaration of the decree, President Yameen ordered the police to arrest
strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (Yameen’s half-brother who ruled the country for 30 years) who
supported the opposition, and two justices of the Supreme Court including Chief Justice Abdullah Saeed.
As an organization which believes that free and fair elections are essential for the expression of the will
of a nation's people, ANFREL encourages the Government of Maldives to proceed with elections
scheduled within the year, and assure that they are carried out with regard to the international standards
governing democratic elections. Only free and fair elections will permit the people of the Maldives
themselves to sort out the unsettled situation.
The current situation gravely affects the conduct of the elections as it marginalizes the participation of
not only parties, and creates fear and discouragement among the stakeholders such as media, voters, and
the civil society. ANFREL expresses its support to calls which advocate equal opportunities to participate
in election, ensuring a level electoral playing field, reinstatement of fundamental human rights, and
independence of the media.

ANFREL Statement on Maldives : More Detail

 

 

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