Opposition leader and former President Mr Nasheed has been jailed for 13 years as he is accused of having misused the military to arrest the Chief of justice in 2012. In capital Malé, two other major opposition leaders were also arrested for allegedly trying to oust current President Yameen, and the same happened for a couple of hundred protesters demanding Nasheed’s release. The international community, including the UN, has condemned ‘arbitrary arrests’ and threaten to take sanctions against rulers.

Impact on country risk

Those arrests are another decisive step in Yameen’s crackdown on opposition aimed to consolidate his power. With the support from the police and justice while enjoying a majority in parliament, Yameen’s position looks solid and his democratic track record continues to gradually erode. As a matter of fact, political opposition is not the only victim of Yameen’s strategy since the civil society and media are increasingly intimidated and violently repressed. Given Nasheed’s popularity, further protests from his supporters are expected in the future and foreign sanctions targeting leaders of the ruling PPM party’s international assets are looming. However, as long as Yameen is supported by the army and police, his grip on power will not be threatened. Maldives’ political and democratic outlook looks gloomier when considering the simultaneous rising Islamisation across politics and society in a country where the number of jihadists fighting for the ‘Islamic State’ is proportionally among the highest. Although the dominant tourism sector remains vibrant and unaffected so far, it could eventually be harmed by a deteriorating political situation and foreign image, notably via sanctions.

Analyst: Raphaël Cecchi, r.cecchi@credendogroup.com