Brussels: The only way out for the people of Maldives is to remove President Abdulla Yameen from power, said Member of European Parliament (MEP) Nicolas Bay, Co-President Group: Europe of Nations and Freedom on Friday.
Vnews.mv quoted an article from EP Today, a monthly news magazine for the European Parliament, saying that the “peace-loving Maldivians” are falling prey to Yameen’s political and international gamesmanship, whose primary motive is to serve his own prosperity and at the same time play with the interests of the common man.
Due to this, the democracy of the Maldives is in total danger, with Yameen taking no heed to the law and judiciary of the country.
Bay added that Yameen ousted the entire opposition in the Maldives and imprisoned several senior figures, who could pose a potential threat to his post, such as his brother and nephew, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Ahmed Faris Maumoon respectively.
Bay stated that the Maldivian President also amended laws so that the leaders-in-exile, including former President Mohamed Nasheed and Jumhooree Party (JP) founder Qasim Ibrahim are barred from contesting elections for at least 10 years.
“While local leaders who were courageous enough to question President Yameen’s actions are facing prison sentences of more than 20 years, the presidential election draws near and President Yameen’s actions show that he would not allow a united opposition candidate to beat him in the elections. His hijacking of the two key institutions essential for the election process – the Elections Commission and the Supreme Court – shows that the elections would neither be free nor fair, and the EU and UN are unlikely to send an official Election Observation Mission,” Vnews.mv quoted the EP Today article as stating.
Bay continued that Yameen’s lust for strengthening his power was evident when he imposed a state of emergency by conceiving ‘an ingenious way’ of dodging the Supreme Court’s order of February 1, which directed the release of nine political prisoners.
He said that the appeals for the conditions for free and fair elections in the island country, made by the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU), are being ignored by Yameen.
“Government officials are hesitant to raise their voice against President Yameen for fear of losing their jobs while opposition rallies are dealt with severely, further pushing the public into forced compliance,” Bay was quoted by EP Today.
Yameen has borrowed huge amount of money from China and Saudi Arabia for initiating several infrastructural and social welfare projects, in what is seen as a last-ditch attempt to amass public support.
The MEP underscores Yameen’s clear disregard for liberal democratic values by openly playing the “Islamic card” and appointing Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, the Chancellor of the Islamic University, as his running mate.
Bay believes that if the Maldivians can pronounce an “overwhelming vote” to remove Yameen from power, then that is “the only way out.”
Quoting another article from The Parliament, vnews.mv states that former President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Henri Malosse said that the Maldivian government is selling its land to foreign governments, such as to the Chinese government for infrastructural projects, which is a great concern.
Malosse stated that although the Constitution of the Maldives bans the selling of its land to the foreign governments, it can be fudged if huge amounts of money are concerned.
“The international community, including the EU, has now called on President Yameen to maintain rule of law and abide by the Constitution. He must allow the opposition to stand in elections, ensure freedom of the press and stop all intimidation, harassment and other illegal means that risk the credibility, civil liberties and democracy of the Maldives. The EU sanctions could result in the inevitable decline of tourism, the principal resource for the people of the Maldives”, he was quoted by vnews.mv.
Echoing similar sentiments, Member of the European Parliament and EPP Party Rapporteur on Maldives Tomas Zdechovsky implied that “the EU had followed up on the February 26 Council conclusions by adopting the framework sanctions, which in no way indicates that the EU is satisfied with the Maldivian government’s efforts to address concerns”.
Zdechovsky also has a word of advise for the Yameen government- take immediate actions to rectify the current political situation and not fall prey to its own propaganda. (ANI)