Maldives President Accuses Opposition of Coup Attempt Through No-Confidence Motion

The Maldives faces political turmoil as the opposition tries to overthrow the government, while the president accuses them of destabilizing the country and aligning it closer to China, straining relations with India.

Olalekan Adigun
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Maldives President Accuses Opposition of Coup Attempt Through No-Confidence Motion

Maldives President Accuses Opposition of Coup Attempt Through No-Confidence Motion

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldives has accused the opposition of attempting to overthrow the government through a no-confidence motion against cabinet members. In a statement, Solih claimed that the opposition is trying to destabilize the country and undermine the democratic process by using the no-confidence motion as a ploy to illegally seize power.

The Maldives government has faced political tensions and challenges, with the opposition alleging corruption and mismanagement. Solih called on the public to remain vigilant and support the democratically elected government against the opposition's efforts to undermine the country's stability and development.

The accusations come amid strained relations between the Maldives and India. President Mohamed Muizzu, who recently returned from a state visit to China, stated that the Maldives is an independent nation and will not be bullied. He denied seeking to redraw the regional balance by bringing in Chinese forces to replace Indian troops, despite tensions flaring after some of his ministers made critical comments about the Indian Prime Minister.

Muizzu announced that the Maldives will reduce its reliance on India for healthcare and medicine, and will now support treatment in the United Arab Emirates as well. The president also suffered his first electoral setback as his party's candidate was defeated in a vote to replace him as the mayor of the former capital.

Why this matters: The political instability in the Maldives has broader implications for the region, as the small island nation navigates its relationships with larger powers like India and China. The outcome of this power struggle could impact the Maldives' foreign policy and strategic alignments in the Indian Ocean.

Former President Solih has also accused the current government of misusing over MVR 100 million in state funds to support the ruling party's parliamentary campaign. These allegations come as the Maldives prepares for parliamentary elections on Sunday, April 21, 2024, with 368 candidates contesting for 93 constituencies. The Anti-Corruption Commission is currently investigating 14 cases related to electoral malpractices, including the inappropriate use of state resources for campaign purposes.

The upcoming parliamentary elections are expected to test President Muizzu's tilt towards China and away from India, the Maldives' traditional benefactor. Muizzu, who won the presidential election in September 2023 as a proxy for pro-China ex-president Abdulla Yameen, has awarded high-profile infrastructure contracts to Chinese state-owned companies and is in the process of sending home a garrison of 89 Indian troops. The current parliament, dominated by the pro-India Maldivian Democratic Party, has sought to stymie Muizzu's efforts to realign the country's diplomacy.

Key Takeaways

  • Maldives president accuses opposition of trying to overthrow govt via no-confidence vote
  • Tensions between Maldives and India over country's tilt towards China and reduced reliance
  • Maldives to reduce dependence on India for healthcare, support treatment in UAE instead
  • Maldives president's party suffers electoral setback as candidate loses mayoral vote
  • Upcoming parliamentary elections to test Maldives' diplomatic realignment away from India