Maldives election surprise

Party politics by subterfuge

Maldives elected a new parliament earlier this month. The election was partyless and allowed both the authoritarian President and the underground opposition to claim victory. The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party claimed that of the 50 seats contested, 18 seats went to candidates fronting for it, while President Gayoom used the same claim to prove that the elections were free and fair. Well, what now?

A lot rests on how much Gayoom sticks to his promise to usher in radical constitutional reforms that promise to convert the Maldives into a true democracy. Gayoom has asked for a year in which to do this, and as the Hindu writes he should be held to his word. India is best placed to keep Gayoom on the straight and the narrow, and should actively help Maldives make the transition to democracy. Indeed, an Indian diplomatic intervention in Maldives that results in a successful democratic transition would be a good example of what India could do for its neighbours.