Maldives has quit the Commonwealth, after accusing the 53-nation group of being unfair.
Maldives alleged that the Commonwealth’s decision to penalise it over the circumstances that led to then President Mohamed Nasheed’s ouster in 2012 was unjust. It also claimed that the group’s lack of interest in resolving the political unrest was also unfair.
The Maldives Foreign Ministry termed as “difficult” but “inevitable” the decision to leave the Commonwealth, a grouping of nations that were mostly territories of the former British Empire.
Last month, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), had warned Maldives of suspension from the bloc expressing its “deep disappointment” over the country’s lack of progress in resolving the political crisis.
Severely critical of Commonwealth, the Maldives said in the name of promotion of democracy, the grouping used the country to increase the organisation’s own relevance and leverage in international politics.
“The Commonwealth has sought to take punitive actions against the Maldives since 2012 after the then President of Maldives (Nasheed) resigned, and transfer of power took place as per the procedures set out in the Constitution…The Commonwealth’s decision to penalise the Maldives was unjustified especially given that the Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI), established with the help of the Commonwealth, found that the transfer of power in the Maldives was consistent with the constitutional provisions,” the Maldives Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The CMAG and the Commonwealth Secretariat seem to be convinced that the Maldives, because of the high and favourable reputation that the country enjoys internationally, and also perhaps because it is a small state that lacks material power, would be an easy object that can be used, especially in the name of democracy promotion, to increase the organisation’s own relevance and leverage in international politics,” Maldives further alleged.
Maldives said it had joined the Commonwealth in 1982 with high hopes and expectations, holding that it will be a platform for coordinating critical issues that the member states, in particular, the smallest members of the organisation face.
The CMAG had criticised the inquiry commission set up to investigate the removal of then President Nasheed from power in 2012.
(With inputs from PTI)