037_Global12_Spotlight_MaldivesRS_V6

Global issue 12

SpotlightMaldives “The international community must decide if they want to support democracy in the Maldives” IntervIew Mohamednasheed, former president of the Maldives Interviewed byGlobal in late September, former President Mohamed Nasheed expressed his fears for the future of democracy in the Maldives, and for the country’s reputation as a leader on climate issues for small nations Global: How confident are you that the Com- itself out.” I think unfortunately it’s going monwealth Ministerial Action Group’s call to be a long innings. for greater dialogue between the key play- ers will be productive in the months ahead? What is your overall vision for your country’s Mohamed Nasheed: It’s really up to the economy and society, and for its environ- international community and, more spe- mental management in the years to come? cifically, the Commonwealth countries to The saddest thing is the issue of the environ- decide if they would want to support de- ment. Vulnerable countries with strong demo- mocracy in the Maldives. Of course, if you cratic credentials must be able to advocate on want a local solution, you are asking for a climate change issues. The Maldives has lost fistfight and I am not the person to do it. If that edge. The minute any Maldivian president you want a local solution where there is a starts talking about climate change, the next fistfight, you must find someone else. question would be: “Excuse me, sir, how did you come to where you are sitting now?” With What do you mean by a “fistfight”? Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives the MDP Maldivian Democratic Party, there By fistfight, I mean another counter-coup. was nothing that they could throw at us and ask The military is very receptive to a counter- have a view that there is going to be a free why were we saying these things. In fact, we coup; sections of the police are very recep- and fair election in the coming months. We were saying these things against many other tive to a counter-coup. But I don’t think that have had seven months after the coup, after sensibilities in the international community is necessarily going to reform the issues in the transfer of power, and we know where and big countries as well. I’m afraid in terms the Maldives… I think it is important to keep we stand. Seven hundred people from our of Maldives’s leadership or small nations’ lead- the Maldives intact. Dialogues and conver- own party have been arrested and more than ership on climate issues, this is the first climate sations and discussions in the Maldives 500 have charges upon them. These include change coup. I think it would be very difficult would rest and hinge upon how much the some eight MPs and some city councillors, for moral authority to be formulated from an rest of the Commonwealth is willing to do. and they are all the leadership of the party. underdog on this issue for a very long time. If the international community wants to let You have made a commitment to peaceful po- the existing authorities remove us from the Looking back, is there anything that you litical activity. Do you expect the present gov- race and then let them run an election, I don’t would have done differently? ernment to allow such activity in the shorter know if that will be fair at all. The nice answer would be to say I would term, and even perhaps to agree to hold new have done it differently. The actual answer elections in the not too distant future? In the light of your unique personal experi- should be that we knew what we were do- Former President Gayoom had many elec- ence of Maldivian politics, do you expect to ing… When we came into government, tions in the last 30 years and he always won see the entrenchment of a more robust and the government revenue was 6 billion rufi- those elections with very handsome majori- open democratic system in the near future? yaa; this year, it is 11.6 billion. We almost ties. So we will have elections but with no When you drop a catch you must then wait doubled it. We brought in a proper taxation opposition. They have already charged me for the next innings. So I don’t really see system. We brought down the budget defi- and I am about to be brought in front of the anything else happening other than the cit from 40 percent of GDP to 7 percent, courts. These courts need reform. The court next innings. God help us that the next in- we held on to inflation, we created jobs, we that I am being brought to is not a constitu- nings is not going to be as long as it was in gave social protection. If you ask the people tional court and there are so many other con- Burma. We won an election, we were not who they want to be governed by, I am very stitutional and legal issues with what they are able to stay in government; the military confident that they would say “Yes” to us.● doing. But if no one wants to impress upon came and pushed us out. Now the interna- the government of the Maldives the need to tional community seems to think, “OK, Interview by Rita Payne not do these things, then it’s very difficult to let him go to jail and let the country sort globalfourth quarter 2012 www.global-briefing.org l37


Global issue 12
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