Bottled up democratic aspirations erupt
Under President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s quarter-century in power, per-capita GDP in the Maldives jumped from under $200 to over $2000, propelling it to the most prosperous South Asian economy. Tourism is booming. But dissatisfaction against his political dominance boiled over into protests, due to which the government has declared a state of emergency.
In 1998, Sri Lankan Tamil militants of the PLOTE group tried to ovethrow the Gayoom government, but timely intervention by Indian security forces (Operation Cactus) cleared them out within 24 hours.
Popular dissatisfaction against politically dominant leaders tend to be exploited by religious fundamentalists in Islamic countries. Maldives too can fall victim to this trend if the Gayoom government continues to dominate the political landscape.