03/23/2018, 10.04
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Maldives lifts state of emergency

The restrictive measure had been in place for 45 days. Former president-dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom investigated for terrorism. Opposition wiped out by the current head of state Yameen. Free field for trade agreements with Beijing.

Malè (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has lifted a state of emergency in force for 45 days. The decision was taken yesterday, the day after the former head of state Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (see photo) was charged with terrorism. He is the step-brother of Yameen and was a dictator who ruled the island for 30 years until 2008.  Now, having wiped out all opposition, the current president is heading towards an undisputed government and automatic re-election scheduled for the end of the year.

The situation precipitated at the beginning of February, when the Supreme Court judges unanimously established the release of opponents belonging to the Maldivian Democratic Party (Mdp) and the reopening of the trials against them. Furthermore, the sentence defined the trial that led Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected president in 2008, to condemnation of terrorism as "unconstitutional". The latter, after the unexpected verdict, was preparing to return to the capital and compete in the presidential elections scheduled for the end of the year, after years of exile between London and Sri Lanka.

Fearing that Parliament could vote impeachment against him, Yameen suspended constitutional rights and  declared a state of emergency. Scheduled at the beginning for 15 days, the measure remained in force for 45. Meanwhile, the president arrested Supreme Court President Abdulla Saeed and judge Ali Hameed. Then, on March 21st, terrorism charges were also filed against Saeed, his brother and former dictator and nine other people. The highest judicial body, left without leadership, then withdrew its decision to release MPD opponents. "We will not give up - tweeted Nasheed from exile - we will fight and we will win".

The restoration of a normal situation has also allowed the reopening of relations with foreign countries, first of all China. Mohamed Faisal, ambassador to Beijing, told the South China Morning Post that the Maldives are ready to give new impetus to Chinese projects and want to attract new investments from China, despite the repercussions that these could have in relations with the other great rival of the area, India.

The constitutional crisis has in fact exacerbated the confrontation between Delhi and Beijing, both eager to establish spheres of influence in the region. The current president Yameen is considered close to the positions of Beijing, with which he has signed agreements for the "Belt and Road Initiative". On the contrary, his predecessor Nasheed gravitates around the orbit of Delhi and recently accused China of "seizure of land" for the construction of its trade routes to Europe.

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