Maldives military on Sunday (Feb 4) reportedly ordered soldiers stationed across the archipelago to return to their headquarters in the capital Male amid increasing rumours that president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom was preparing to declare state of emergency.
The widespread reports however have not been confirmed as Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) was unavailable for comment, but groups of soldiers have been seen arriving in the capital Male since noon on Sunday.
The island nation has been plunged into fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.
More than two days after the Supreme court ordered the immediate release of as many as nine political prisoners, government has thus far refused to comply.
In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the order included Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and deposed ruling party leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.
The others named in the order included former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb’s brother in law Hamid Ismail.
The court had also annulled its anti-defection ruling and ordered the country’s electoral watchdog to re-instate the dozen government lawmakers disqualified over the ruling. The Supreme Court said the anti-defection ruling was issued as a temporary solution to the constitutional dispute case filed by the state but insisted that the relevant authorities have failed to bring to effect an anti-defection law specified in the ruling.
The reinstatement of the 12 lawmakers disqualified by the country’s elections commission would mean that the united opposition would now have parliament majority which has the power to impeach the president.
Government meanwhile, confirmed a Supreme Court led move to have incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom arrested.