President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen has declared state of emergency for 30 days on grounds of threat to national security. The declaration with effect to emergency has been made on November 4, 2015 as per article 253 of the constitution of Maldives. The constitution of Maldives gives president powers to declare emergency and suspend certain rights of the citizens.
The former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed, who belongs to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) was convicted of charges of using the military to arrest a senior judge when in office. He was sentenced for 13 years of jail term in the March this year. The trial of the former President was criticised both locally and internationally for lack of due process. His supporters claimed that the verdict was politically motivated.
In recent days, the Nasheed’s party MDP was planning to organize a mass rally to protest against the present government. The Maldivian government is of the opinion that some groups are planning to use dangerous explosives and weapons and it may disturb the public peace.
Since 2012, Maldives has been hit by acute political crisis. The government has imprisoned much of the opposition leadership; prosecuting one vice president to charges of trying to assassinate the President, impeaching another vice president, removing two defense ministers and two Supreme Court judges so far.
The emergency has been announced at a time when the country is facing tensions after an explosion aboard President Yameen’s speed boat on 28 September, that wounded his wife and along with two others. President was unharmed in the blast. On October 24th, Maldivian government has accused the Vice President Ahmed Adeeb for the boat blast and ordered for his arrest.
Maldives is composed of 1192 small coral islands with a population of around 3.4 lakhs, mainly Sunni Muslims. Its economy is mainly based on tourist trade. The continuing political instability in the Maldives will damage its tourist trade, a key employer and earner of foreign exchange.