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The State We’re In: Politics in the Maldives

As the country braces itself for a tumultuous 2018 – and possibly a presidential election – the Maldives Independent looks back at the main political events of the last few years. Take a seat.



If a week is a long time in politics, it is a lifetime in the Maldives. On Thursday night the Supreme Court ordered the immediate release of high-profile prisoners, a move that typifies the troubled honeymoon destination’s rollercoaster politics. As the country braces itself for a tumultuous 2018 – and possibly a presidential election – the Maldives Independent looks back at the main events of the last few years. Take a seat.


March 13 Former president Mohamed Nasheed sentenced to 13 years in prison on terrorism charges.

March 27 President Abdulla Yameen’s former defence minister Mohamed Nazim convicted of smuggling dangerous weapons and sentenced to 11 years in jail.

July 2 Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed impeached by parliament.

July 22 Ahmed Adeeb, sworn in as vice president, wins overwhelming backing from parliament.

July 25 Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) reveals that, in negotiations for Nasheed’s release, the government demanded opposition backing for two constitutional amendments. The first to change the age limits for the presidency and vice presidency and the second to allow foreign ownership of Maldivian land. The government also wanted opposition backing for Jameel’s impeachment.

October 24 Adeeb arrested for high treason after an alleged assassination attempt on Yameen.


January 18 Nasheed leaves the Maldives and travels to the UK for back surgery after being granted medical leave.

February 16 Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla sentenced to 12 years on terrorism charges.

May 23 It is revealed that Nasheed has been granted political asylum in the UK.

June 1 Opposition announces the formation of the Maldives United Opposition, with Jameel as its leader, bringing together the MDP, the AP, two of Yameen’s former deputies and Nazim. It also announces a 19-member shadow cabinet comprising senior opposition figures and former top officials from Yameen’s administration.

June 2 MUO condemns Adeeb’s terror trials.

July 5 MP Faris Maumoon, son of ex-president and ruling party leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is expelled by the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) for voting against the government-sponsored land lease bill. His sister Dunya resigns, citing opposition to the government’s plans to reinstate the death penalty.

August 30 Arrest warrants issued for exiled MUO leaders Nasheed and Jameel.

September 7 Immigration revokes passports of Nasheed and Jameel.

October 16 Yameen replaces his half-brother Gayoom as ruling party leader after a civil court decision.

October 21 MUO invites Gayoom to join the coalition after his PPM faction wrote to parties seeking support ahead of local council elections.

October 28 Gayoom withdraws support for Yameen, and condemns Nasheed’s terror conviction.


January 5 Dunya rejoins Yameen’s government as junior minister but her twin-sister Yumna pledges to remain loyal to their father Maumoon, the president’s half-brother.

March 24 Gayoom and Nasheed, along with Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim and AP leader Sheikh Imran sign an historic declaration to work together to restore democracy in the Maldives.

March 28 Gayoom is expelled from the PPM. Lawmaker and PPM member Mohamed Ameeth is also expelled over a no-confidence vote in the parliament speaker.

May 28 Sheikh Imran and ex-defence minister Nazim transferred to house arrest.

May 29 Adheeb seeks medical leave from prison.

July 1 Nazim and Sheikh Imran taken back to jail.

July 2 Adheeb admits to framing Nazim.

August 25 Gasim sentenced to three years, two months and 12 days in prison in absentia.

August 30 Government renews invitation for all-party talks.

September 6 Gasim goes to Singapore on authorised medical leave.

October 22 Nasheed calls for an interim leader in 2018.

October 25 Opposition in talks about fielding a unity candidate.

November 8 Gayoom says the opposition has not started talks about a unity candidate as it is too early.

November 9 Ruling party lawmakers declare Nasheed cannot contest the presidential election after he asserted that foreign pressure would secure his candidacy.

November 28 It is revealed that Gasim has defied a travel ban and gone to Germany.

December 23 The MDP sets out a roadmap to beat Yameen in 2018.


January 4 Adeeb is charged for bribing intelligence officials while in government.

January 9 Security is boosted at Gayoom’s residence.

January 14 Special ops take over security of Adeeb’s prison cell.

January 18 Gasim’s resorts are raided by police and customs.

January 25 Adeeb accuses Yameen of engineering May Day unrest with the intention of jailing Sheikh Imran. Faris released from custody after six months.

January 27 President orders the arrest of his nephew Faris on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

January 28 Opposition files a case to Supreme Court to remove Yameen from power.

February 1 Supreme Court orders the release of key prisoners, including the former president Mohamed Nasheed. There are celebrations and clashes on the streets of the capital Malé.

Main photo and bottom photo: Auf Majeed.