Maldives opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) wants India to stop arming the island Government as the threat perceptions and rationale for spending 8% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defense is unclear.
President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has been ruling the islands for the last 28 years and while there is a Parliament, the Constitutions is weak on power sharing and accommodation and elections have never been free and fair. Further, Gayoom is also accused of being repressive against the opposition and had the Lead of the Opposition under house arrest.
After four rounds of British moderated negotiations, the leader is now free but is very suspicious on intentions and future of democracy in the island. Now opposition members are calling on India to be part of the mediation process and ensuring that Gayoom’s “roadmap for democratic reform” is implemented. They also want assurance through international pressure that Gayoom will hold Presidential elections in 2008 as promised and organize it in a free and fair environment.
Opposition members complain that Gayoom harasses MDP activists through arbitrary detention. Their accusations could not be verified