Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, in a crucial parliamentary address, reiterated the nation’s commitment to safeguarding sovereignty and confirmed the exit of Indian troops from the archipelago by May 10.
Muizzu, who won the 2023 elections on an anti-India stance, faces opposition boycotts amid growing political controversies and criticism over the country’s shifting dynamics with China.
Muizzu’s anti-India stance, a departure from his predecessors’ pro-India approach, has triggered a diplomatic row between India and the Maldives. The president’s announcement to fulfill his election promise of Indian troop withdrawal, despite criticism at home, underscores the evolving geopolitical landscape in the region.
Opposition Boycott and Impeachment Talks:
The parliamentary address witnessed a historic boycott by the two main opposition parties, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Democrats. The joint boycott, labeled the “biggest” in parliamentary history, is accompanied by reports of the opposition exploring a proposal to impeach President Muizzu. With 56 MPs combined, these parties hold significant influence in the 87-seat parliament.
Dwindling Parliamentary Attendance:
The Monday session highlighted the strained political climate as only 24 out of the current 80 MPs were present during the president’s speech. The reduced parliamentary strength results from seven MPs resigning to secure administrator posts in the Muizzu government, further complicating the political landscape.
Opposition’s Condemnation and Concerns:
The joint statement by the MDP and Democrats condemns Muizzu’s shift in foreign policy, describing it as “extremely detrimental” to the country’s long-term development. The opposition emphasizes the significance of stability and security in the Indian Ocean for the Maldives, amid concerns about the nation’s growing ties with China.
India-Maldives Diplomatic Row:
The diplomatic row between India and the Maldives escalated following derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Maldivian politicians. President Muizzu’s visit to China and the shift away from traditional ties with India further amplify the evolving dynamics in the region.
As the political landscape in the Maldives undergoes significant shifts, the announcement of Indian troop withdrawal stands at the center of a complex geopolitical narrative, sparking both domestic and international discussions.