By Tela Wittig
The Republic of Maldives, a small island nation off the coast of India, impeached Vice President Ahmed Adeeb on November 5, following the declaration of a state of emergency after an explosion was set off with the intention of assassinating President Abdulla Yameen and his wife. The two were on a boat from the airport to the capital city of Male on September 28 when an explosion occurred, injuring the First Lady and two others on the boat.
After investigations into the cause of the explosion and the subsequent discovery of a weapons cache in the country, the attack was deemed an act of terrorism. The event provoked the president to controversially declare a state of emergency within the country. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the explosion and found no evidence of an actual bomb–the recovered shrapnel was determined to have been parts of the boat.
Vice President Adeeb was arrested pending the conclusion of the investigation into the cause of the explosion, only six months after the last vice president was impeached.
Lawmakers met for a special parliamentary session to vote on the impeachment, which passed with 61 of the 85 representatives present overwhelmingly in favor of the impeachment on the grounds of no confidence. Only 57 votes were required to pass the impeachment. Adeeb is now being charged with terrorism for an assassination attempt against President Yameen and collaborating with the opposition.
The second impeachment in three months calls into question the true presence of democracy in the country of Maldives. In this rapidly evolving nation, there is a huge outcry for rights violated by the current government, which has been in power since 1965 when the Maldives gained independence from the United Kingdom.
According to the Maldivian constitution, no more than three people are permitted to gather without official permission, one of the many sources of tension between the government and the opposition. In a recent video report from the capital of Male, police aggressively stopped opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed as he made his way towards the Parliament Building.
The state of emergency recently declared by President Yameen effectively prohibits assemblies organized by the opposition.
The United States has encouraged the Maldivian government to restore citizens’ rights by ending the state of emergency, and called for an end to political prosecution in the Maldivian government.