Shifting Tides in South Asia: Tumult in the Maldives

Issue Date April 2014
Volume 25
Issue 2
Page Numbers 164-170
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Maldives held its first free and competitive elections in 2008. Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) won the election, ending the 30-year presidency of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. An opposition-led coup on 7 February 2012 and the victory of Gayoom’s half-brother, Yameen Abdul Gayoom of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) in the 2013 presidential elections signaled a return to pre-2008 politics. Challenges to consolidating democracy are manifold: a judiciary and a police force that remain loyal to Gayoom and his cronies; a rising trend of Muslim Nationalism fostered by increasing Islamic extremism and opportunistic politicians; and massive wealth and income inequalities sustained by a culture of patronage and an economy dependent on a high-end tourism industry.