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Maldives extends emergency for 30 more days; opposition calls it illegal

The state of emergency will now end on March 22

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo/Male 

Maldives island
Maldives island (Photo: Reuters)

The Maldives' Parliament today extended the by another 30 days, approving Abdulla Yameen's recommendation, bolstering his grip on power in the troubled island nation.

Yameen declared emergency on February 5 after the ordered the release of a group of Opposition leaders, who had been convicted in widely criticised trials. Among them was exiled ex- The court said his 2015 trial had been unconstitutional.

Only 38 MPs were present for the vote, which took place hours before the was due to expire, despite 43 lawmakers being needed for the vote to take place as required by the Constitution, Independent news website reported.

All 38 were from the ruling Progressive Party of and they all approved the extension, it said.

The opposition boycotted the vote.

The will now end on March 22.

Parliament quoted parliamentary regulations which do not include state of emergency declarations among the votes where a constitutionally required quorum is needed.

"There is no other law that requires compliance by citizens to the extent a state of emergency requires compliance. We are asking citizens, we are compelling them to let the state suspend and restrict their fundamental rights for more than a month. There is no other violation of the constitution that shines on this clearly," said opposition MP

Eva Abdulla, another opposition lawmaker, accused the of bypassing the constitution and said the state of emergency was illegal.

Shahindha Ismail, executive director of the Democracy Network, said the ruling party has effectively and completely removed all of governance in this country.

The controversial vote took place at the second extraordinary session in as many days.

Under the emergency law, Yameen had two judges arrested, accusing them of corruption. Later, the remaining three judges annulled the order to release Yameen's opponents.

There has been condemnation of the government's moves, with the US and expressing concern.

Meanwhile, today said it expects that in Maldives there will by no extension of emergency upon its expiry, asserting that it was important that the island nation quickly returns to the path of democracy and the rule of law.

"It is our expectation that the will not be seeking extension of the State of Emergency so that the political process in Maldives can resume with immediate effect," the external affairs ministry said in a statement in

In another development, the today assured the (EU) it will uphold the rule of law in the country.

of Foreign Affairs met with EU to discuss the Maldivian political situation, according to a media report.

The said that upholding the rule of law was the Maldivian governments biggest priority.

The declaration of emergency in Maldives has been criticised by the EU. It has appealed to the to ensure freedom of speech is protected, and ensure the police and military conduct their operations with minimum impact to the public.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 20 2018. 21:15 IST