Maldives government declares state of emergency after refusing to enforce supreme court order

Maldives government declares state of emergency after refusing to enforce supreme court order

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom [official profile] declared [press release] a state of emergency Monday for the next 15 days as political tensions between the president and the Supreme Court continue to escalate.

The country has remained in a state of turmoil since the Supreme Court of the Maldives [official website] dismissed [order, PDF, in Dhivehi] a “terrorism” conviction against former president Mohamed Nasheed and ordered the release of other jailed opposition politicians on Thursday. In response, Yameen and his ministers have sent the Supreme Court three letters [materials] expressing the government’s belief that the order cannot be carried out since it is:

an encroachment on the regulatory powers of the State, the disruption of the functions mandated to State institutions under the Constitution, and the infringement of national security and public interest, and if implemented, which would potentially lead to an undermining of the supremacy of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives [unofficial translation].

As such, the order has not been executed and popular protests were formed throughout the capital, Male, over the weekend demanding the government’s compliance.

Article 253 of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives [text, PDF] provides the country’s president with the power to declare a state of emergency in the event of a national security threat in all or part of the country for a period not exceeding thirty days. Yameen was elected in 2013 and is up for election this year, but remains virtually unopposed as his political opponents have been jailed or exiled.