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Maldives Civic Protest: Supreme Court throws out President Nasheed's petition

Male', Maldives.
The Maldives Supreme Court today threw out a petition by President Nasheed for a ruling on the import of alcohol and pork into the Maldives. The Supreme Court today said, all 7 judges had agreed unanimously that the matter did not fall into the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

In the melodrama being played out by Nasheed and his ministers for international viewers, Nasheed had petitioned the Supreme Court asking for a ruling on the import of alcohol and pork into the country and operation of spas in tourist resorts. In presenting the petition, Nasheed's Attorney General Abdulla Muizzu (younger brother of Nasheed's school mate and lawyer, Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizzu) said that the Government had taken the initiative because certain people were creating conflicts around these issues, but that none had officially raised the matter. Muizzu further stated that foreign investors were losing confidence in the Maldivian tourism industry as a result.

The Supreme Court decision perhaps played into hands of the Nasheed administration, which had been quick to spread false alarmist news to international media about a fundamentalist Islamic resurgence in the Maldives.

Nasheed's whole melodrama is built around the historic Civic Protest against Nasheed on December 23, 2011. The Civic Protest had demanded, amongst other things, that places of prostitution in the country be closed down and that alcohol not be sold on inhabited islands. Nasheed had twisted these demands of the Civic Protest to mean a ban on all alcohol and the closure of spa facilities in the country. He then proceeded to close down all spas and issue international press statements blaming "fundamentalist elements", leading to travel warnings in some European countries.

The political objective behind the drama could perhaps be to undermine a growing threat to his presidency, the Adhaalath Party, amongst the tourism industry and in the international fora. Earlier in his term, President Nasheed had told international media that the Maldives harboured terrorist elements which he was trying to root out.

While the tourism industry and international supporters financed Nasheed's presidency bid in 2008, it may be worthwhile for Nasheed to remember that it is the Maldivian voters and not his international financiers who cast the vote in the 2013 Presidential Elections. Over 16% of that electorate turned out to protest against Nasheed on December 23rd, 2011 in Victory Square, all lead by Adhaalath Party.

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