Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU and Commonwealth must exert pressure on the Maldives

10th Februry 2012

The EU's diplomatic efforts in the Maldives must be stepped up to bring about early elections and help end the violence and bloodshed since the appointment of a new President under suspicious circumstances, Nirj Deva MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists group development spokesman and Charles Tannock, ECR foreign affairs spokesman, said today.

President Mohamed Nasheed resigned on Tuesday morning - allegedly at gunpoint - and was replaced by Vice-President Waheed Manik a few hours later. The resignation followed three weeks of angry clashes and the arrest of Judge Abdulla Mohamed for alleged corruption - despite the fact the Judicial Commission was unable to prove allegations made against him.

President Nasheed ushered in the Maldives' first democratic government after 30 years of autocratic rule. Since his resignation many senior members of the Maldivian Democratic Party - including its chairman Reeko Moosa Manik - have sustained serious injuries at the hands of police and opposition supporters.

Messrs Deva and Tannock are calling on the EU to stress to the new President Manik that he must hold free and fair elections swiftly in order to legitimise his office, and he must engage in an urgent reform of the judiciary to instil faith in the rule of law on the islands.

Nirj Deva, Vice-President of the parliament's development committee, said:

"President Nasheed was unable to carry his country with him in his reform programme. That is regrettable, as is the questionable circumstances of his resignation. There should be an independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of Nasheed's corruption and into the circumstances of his resignation.

"The situation in the Maldives must not be allowed to spiral out of control with innocent people being caught up in the violence. President Manik must call elections swiftly so that the new President can be given a democratic mandate to govern. If the Maldives were allowed to fall back under autocratic rule it would be bad news for Maldivians and, as historical friends of the Maldives, bad news for the EU too."

Charles Tannock said:

"EU nations have historical ties to the Maldives and we must use our influence to bring calm to this very precarious situation. The EU and the Commonwealth must place the utmost pressure on the new President to hold elections and to ensure the judiciary is free from political interference. We must not look away at this critical time for Maldivian democracy."
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