Update on the Current Situation in the Maldives (22/02/2018): Supreme Court Issues a temporary Order Upholding the Parliamentary Extension of the State of Emergency

February 22, 2018

Supreme Court Issues a temporary Order Upholding the Parliamentary Extension of the State of Emergency

The Supreme Court yesterday issued a temporary Order in reference to Article 141, Article 144(b) and Article 145(c) of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives, ordering the Parliament and the relevant State authorities to act upon the Parliament’s approval and extension of the Presidential Decree (Decree No: 2018/3), inclusive of the amendments, by thirty days implementing a State of Emergency in the Maldives. Parliament had decided on 20 February 2018, that in addition to approving and extending the State of Emergency, they would also lift restrictions on Articles 100, 101, 113 and 228 of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives.

This temporary Order was passed based on the submission by the Parliament, under Article 95 and Article 258 of the Constitution of the Republic of the Maldives, whereby the Parliament requested an advisory opinion.

This order issued by the Supreme Court of the Maldives highlights the following:

(a) That Section 38 of the Regulations of Parliament elaborates upon Article 87(b) of the Constitution, stating the situations requiring compliance by citizens, which requires more than half of the total membership of Parliament be present at the sitting. Nonetheless, the declaration of a State of Emergency is not included as a matter which requires compliance by citizens as per Section 38 of the Regulations of the Parliament. Hence, the session of Parliament approving and extending the State of Emergency proceeded under the understanding that the quorum needed to pass the Presidential Decree and their consequent amendments were guided by Article 86 of the Constitution, which stipulates that only 25% of the total membership would constitute quorum; and

(b) The Parliament at session also decided to seek advisory opinion of the Supreme Court, as per the provision provided to do so under Article 95 of the Constitution, due to questions raised by some of the Members of Parliament with regard to the Parliament’s quorum.

Extended Emergency not to impact law-abiding citizens and visitors / tourists: The Embassy of the Republic of Maldives in India

New Delhi, 22 February 2018:

The Embassy of the Republic of Maldives in India would like to clarify that the extended state of Emergency in the island nation will have no impact on its law-abiding citizens, and visitors and tourists.

The Parliament’s recommendation to extend the State of Emergency for another 30 days was warranted due to the complex nature of the ongoing investigations regarding threats posed to national security following the Supreme Court Order No. 2018/SC-SJ/01, issued on 1 February 2018, and the money trail allegedly used to bribe Justices.

“The attempted judicial coup has far reaching implications to the judiciary and Maldives democracy. As the investigations into those responsible are ongoing, and as police are making fast strides in acquiring evidence and in understanding the full depth of the attempted coup, the State of Emergency is extended to apply to only those alleged to be implicit in the attempted coup,” says Ambassador of Maldives to India, His Excellency Ahmed Mohamed.

Taking note of the concerns being expressed by friends and partners in the international community, the Parliament has provided relief by lifting some of the restrictions imposed on Constitutional Articles under the State of Emergency and imposing the State of Emergency only upon individuals alleged to have carried out illegal activities.

“The extended State of Emergency will not apply to otherwise law-abiding residents of, or visitors to, the Maldives,” the Ambassador adds. “The rights and liberties of everyday citizens are not affected and they have full enjoyment of the rights guaranteed by law.”

The State of Emergency, which was declared by President Abdullah Yameen on 5th February 2018 for 15 days, was extended for another 30 days at the recommendation of the Majlis (Parliament) of the Maldives. The Supreme Court cleared the validity of the Emergency extension on 21st February 2018.

 

END

The Government of Maldives calls for dialogue; public statements unhelpful

February 22, 2018

The Government of Maldives takes note of the public statements issued by the Government of India that ignore the facts and ground realities with regard to the ongoing political developments in the Maldives.  The assertion by the Government of India that the extension of the State of Emergency by the People’s Majlis was unconstitutional is a clear distortion of facts, which ignore the Constitution and Laws of the Maldives.

On 5 February 2018, the President declared the State of Emergency under the powers vested in him in Article 253 of the Constitution, pertaining to a Constitutional Crisis, and an imminent threat to national security, upon the advice of the National Security Council.  The Supreme Court had cleared the validity of the Emergency in its ruling on 21 February 2018. In its decision to extend the State of Emergency on 20 February 2018, the People’s Majlis provided relief by lifting some of the restrictions imposed on Constitutional Articles under the State of Emergency and by imposing the State of Emergency only upon individuals alleged to have carried out illegal activities and in the places they stayed.  The Peoples’ Majlis also in its sitting decided to refer the issue to the Supreme Court, for Advisory Opinion, under Article 95 of the Constitution, pertaining to which the Supreme Court has issued an Order to implement the State of Emergency, till the Court issues a verdict on the issue.

Other than implementing the necessary measures stated in the Decree imposing the State of Emergency, it ensures no other restriction on the daily lives of the people and provides protection to the citizens living in the Maldives, to foreign workers and to those visiting the country.

There is no doubt that the Maldives is experiencing one of the most difficult periods in the history of the nation.  It is therefore important that friends and partners in the international community, including India, refrain from any actions that could hinder resolving the situation facing the country.

The Government of Maldives reiterates its firm commitment to work closely with the international community, including India, to address the concerns they might have.

ENDS

Official Statement; Government welcomes Elections Commission’s Commencement of work for Presidential Elections

February 22, 2018

The Government of Maldives warmly welcomes the announcement of the Elections Commission to begin preparations for the Presidential Elections to be held this year. The Government takes note of its announcement to hold the first round of Presidential elections in early September and encourages all relevant stakeholders to offer the Commission their full, unreserved support for the conduct of their work.

Free, fair and credible elections are the foundation of our democracy and are essential for continuity of our nation’s growth, stability and prosperity. The Maldives Government extends its invitation to all international stakeholders to observe our electoral process, and we urge the international community to provide support and assistance in bringing back normalcy in the Maldives, and refrain from any actions that could hinder resolving the situation facing the country.

The Government commits to providing a free and stable environment for campaigns in the lead up to this year’s Presidential Elections and reaffirms our hope that all relevant stakeholders support this endeavour.

Noting that all elections after the ratification of the Constitution was accepted to be fair and free by all parties, the Government refers all political parties and politicians alike to work with commitment towards making the elections which are months away, free and fair, rather to engage in a battle to topple the Government and to destabilize the nation.

Statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Government of Maldives calls for dialogue; public statements unhelpful

February 22, 2018

Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to the public statements issued by the Government of India with regard to the ongoing political developments in the Maldives.

The statement reads;

“The Government of Maldives takes note of the public statements issued by the Government of India that ignore the facts and ground realities with regard to the ongoing political developments in the Maldives. The assertion by the Government of India that the extension of the State of Emergency by the People’s Majlis was unconstitutional is a clear distortion of facts, which ignore the Constitution and Laws of the Maldives.”

“On 5 February 2018, the President declared the State of Emergency under the powers vested in him in Article 253 of the Constitution, pertaining to a Constitutional Crisis, and an imminent threat to national security, upon the advice of the National Security Council. The Supreme Court had cleared the validity of the Emergency in its ruling on 21 February 2018. In its decision to extend the State of Emergency on 20 February 2018, the People’s Majlis provided relief by lifting some of the restrictions imposed on Constitutional Articles under the State of Emergency and by imposing the State of Emergency only upon individuals alleged to have carried out illegal activities and in the places they stayed. The Peoples’ Majlis also in its sitting decided to refer the issue to the Supreme Court, for Advisory Opinion, under Article 95 of the Constitution, pertaining to which the Supreme Court has issued an Order to implement the State of Emergency, till the Court issues a verdict on the issue.”

“Other than implementing the necessary measures stated in the Decree imposing the State of Emergency, it ensures no other restriction on the daily lives of the people and provides protection to the citizens living in the Maldives, to foreign workers and to those visiting the country.”

“There is no doubt that the Maldives is experiencing one of the most difficult periods in the history of the nation. It is therefore important that friends and partners in the international community, including India, refrain from any actions that could hinder resolving the situation facing the country.”

“The Government of Maldives reiterates its firm commitment to work closely with the international community, including India, to address the concerns they might have.”

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, on 5 February 2018, declared a State of Emergency by Presidential Decree No. 2018/3, under Article 253 of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives.

As per the Presidential Decree, the State of Emergency was enforced in order to protect the peace and wellbeing of all citizens, and the country, and to facilitate investigations following the events that unfolded in relation to the Supreme Court Order No. SC-SJ/01/2018, issued on 1 February 2018, which resulted in the disruption of the functions of the executive power and the State institutions vested with specific mandates under the Constitution, the infringement of national security and public interest, and if implemented, would potentially lead to an undermining of the supremacy of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives.

Despite the declaration of the state of emergency, there will be no enforcement of a curfew; and general movements, services and businesses will not be affected.

Link to Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement