Home Contact Us  
   

Maldives - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4271, 23 January 2014
 

Year in Review

Maldives 2013: End of Political Stalemate
N Manoharan
National Maritime Foundation (NMF), New Delhi
 

A small atoll state, Maldives witnessed numerous events in 2013 on the political, socio-economic and diplomatic fronts.

The political issues revolved around the long-delayed presidential polls. The second multi-party presidential elections took place on 07 September 2013. There were four leading candidates in the fray: former president Mohamed Nasheed representing the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP); recent president Mohamed Waheed of Gaumee Ithihaad Party (GIP); Abdulla Yameen (half-brother of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom) of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM); and Gasim Ibrahim of the Jumhoree Party. Nasheed was contesting on the main plank of ‘restoring’ democracy, development and diplomacy. The PPM slogan was ‘Opt PPM or fail’. Except Nasheed, who was pitching for ‘liberal Islam’, all other parties were wielding the Islamic card. Jumhoree Party had, in fact, appealed for a ‘defence of Islam’.

After dramatic twists and turns in terms of postponements and annulments, Abdulla Yameen, a four-time parliamentarian and half-brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was sworn in as the sixth President of Maldives on 17 November 2013. He got 51.39 per cent of the votes, while former president Mohammed Nasheed got 48.61 per cent of the votes. Despite trailing Nasheed by more than 17 per cent (46.93 per cent for Nasheed vs. 29.72 per cent for Yameen) in the first round, Yameen managed to win the second round mainly because of support from a wider coalition of parties: Maldives Development Alliance, Adhaalath Party, Jumhooree Party, GIP and Islamic Democratic Party. Interestingly, this was a repeat of the 2008 trend when the second-placed candidate Nasheed went on to win the presidential run-off with the support of several parties against the then incumbent Abdul Gayoom.

Despite losing by a thin margin (6,022 votes), the MDP leader Nasheed graciously’ and ‘sincerely’ accepted defeat. He neither challenged the elections in a court of law nor took to streets to force another round of elections.

Economically, the country was not in good shape. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Maldives’ “weak macroeconomic situation had resulted in large economic imbalances, both in the domestic economy and in terms of the balance of payments.” Since the Maldivian economy was mostly outward-looking, with tourism and fisheries contributing about 50 per cent of the GDP, the global economic slowdown had a severe impact in addition to the political crisis. 

Internally, the issue was high government expenditure. Unemployment was another serious issue staring at the government with the unemployment rate at a two-figure mark in 2013. The ouster of foreign entities like GMR and Nexbis did not go down well with the business community. The main economic challenge before the new president, therefore, was reducing governmental expenditure on the one hand and to make Maldives more business-friendly.

Islamic radicalism was yet another challenge that confronted the country. In recent years, Maldivians in increasing numbers have been drawn towards Pakistan-based madrasas and jihadist groups. Lashkar-e-Toiba, through its charitable front organisation, Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq, has established a foothold especially in the southern parts of Maldives in the garb of relief operations after the 2004 tsunami. Events in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan have also influenced Maldivians towards radicalisation. Lack of adequate educational and employment opportunities have been pushing the Maldivian youth towards jihadist groups. What is of concern is that at any point in time, a number of Maldivian nationals pursue religious studies in Pakistani madrasas controlled by various jihadist groups. And very many numbers are enrolled in Saudi Arabian madrasas. On their return, they come back not only with radical ideas, but also with jihadi networks. These madrasa-educated Maldivians are influenced to fight in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya. They also help in the direct recruitment of Maldivians for jihad.

Surprisingly, Ali Jaleel, who was involved in the 27 May 2009 suicide attack on the ISI headquarters in Lahore, was a Maldivian. Many remote islands of Maldives are also ideal for instituting training facilities, especially on maritime aspects. The Local Maldivians’ superior knowledge of the sea is a major asset to any terror group that wishes to employ maritime terrorism.

Diplomatically, the image of the country suffered a huge dent due to the political uncertainty of the past two years. For a brief period, the Commonwealth placed Maldives in the CMAG (Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group) agenda, implying its suspension from the grouping. The EU also considered taking ‘appropriate measures’ if the country did not elect a president. As a micro state, it was important for Maldives to be in the good books of the international community. On its part, India maintained strict neutrality, though it nudged all parties to hold free and fair elections. New Delhi’s only concern was political stability in the atoll.

For the way forward, image, objectivity and efficiency of governmental institutions like the legislature, judiciary and defence forces require serious work. During his term, Nasheed could not function properly mainly because of lack of cooperation from these institutions and hence had to go midway. Comparatively, Yameen is best placed to handle these institutions because his coalition has a majority in the Majlis; judiciary and defence forces are expected not to create any problems for him due to their favourable disposition towards former president Gayoom. However, the challenge before Yameen is to gradually get these democratic institutions to function constitutionally, with proper checks and balances. The Maldivian democratic constitution is just five years old. It is important, at this infant stage, to make sure that the constitution is improved upon without giving room for temptations to drift back to authoritarianism.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
India-Maldives Relations: A Tale of Two Concerns

Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh: Designs and Network in India

India-Sri Lanka: Time to Settle the Fishermen Issue

Sri Lanka: A New Base for ISI against India?

Ebola: Concerns for India

Left-wing Extremism 2013: The Threat Continues

CHOGM, India and Sri Lanka: New Delhi’s Missed Opportunities

Sri Lanka: TNA in the Northern Province

Presidential Elections in Maldives: A Pre-Poll Analysis

Indian Mujahideen: After Yasin Bhatkal's Arrest

India and the Peace Process in Sri Lanka: So Close, Yet So Far

Sri Lanka and the 13th Amendment: The Arithmetic of ‘Plus’ and ‘Minus’

Sri Lanka and the 13th Amendment: Reconciling Differing Viewpoints

Naxal Violence: What should be Done to Counter?

Sri Lanka: Third UNHRC Resolution and India’s Dilemma

Hyderabad Terror Attacks: Road-blocks in the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC)

Maldives: GMR, Nexbis and the Tale of Two Ousters

Maldives: Indian Investments vis-a-vis Chinese Footprints

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s India Visit: Taking the Ties Forward

Sri Lanka: 25 Years After the IPKF

IPCS Debate: The UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka

Devolution in Sri Lanka: The Latest Take

‘Taming the Tigers’: Reintegration of Surrendered LTTE Cadres

Fishing in Troubled Waters: Indian Fishermen and India-Sri Lanka Relations

Alternative Strategies for Indo-Sri Lankan Relations: Passenger Ferry Service

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.