Maldives leader seeks approval to extend state of emergency


Male: Maldives President Abdulla Yameen on Monday sought parliamentary approval to extend a state of emergency by 30 days, saying a threat to national security had not diminished and a constitutional crisis had not been resolved.
But with opposition members boycotting the session, only 39 of 85 MPs were present, and the vote was cancelled and an “extraordinary sitting” scheduled for Tuesday.
Yameen imposed a state of emergency on Februay 5 for 15 days to annul a Supreme Court ruling that quashed convictions against nine opposition leaders and ordered his government to free those held in prison. The emergency was to end on Tuesday.
Tourists have been cancelling hundreds of hotel bookings every day since the emergency was imposed, tour operators say, despite government assurances that all is normal in the resort islands, far from the capital.
Parliament cancelled Monday’s vote without giving a reason after the opposition boycott, which left only 39 ruling party MPs in the chamber. The opposition said the vote needed a quorum of at least 43 members.
The Supreme Court this month ordered the reinstatement of 12 lawmakers stripped of their parliamentary seats by Yameen’s party for defecting last year. With the 12 MPs absent, the government retains a majority in parliament.
Judges Arrested
Under the emergency, Yameen’s administration has arrested the chief justice, another Supreme Court judge and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on allegations of attempting to overthrow the government.