Maldives Parliament divided over Commonwealth exit ?

Only 39 lawmakers in the 85-member house endorsed the exit while 19 voted against the decision, including six from Yameen's own party. (Image courtesy: Facebook) Photograph:( Others )

Male Oct 20, 2016, 05.06 AM (IST)

Less than half of Maldives lawmakers voted on Wednesday in favour of leaving the Commonwealth, a decision announced last week by President Abdulla Yameen-led government. 

 

The vote highlighted deep divisions among the parliamentarians over the decision to the leave the group of mostly former British colonies, Reuters reported.  It could bolster the opposition coalition, one of whose members called on the international community to help restore political stability to Maldives, as Yameen's ruling party grapples with a formal split.

 

Only 39 lawmakers in the 85-member house endorsed the exit while 19 voted against the decision, including six from Yameen's own party. The remaining lawmakers were absent, the parliament's official website showed.

 

The Indian Ocean archipelago remains mired in political unrest since Mohammad Nasheed, its first democratically elected leader, was ousted in disputed circumstances in 2012. 

 

Earlier this week, on Monday, the ruling party formally into two factions, one run by the president and the other by his half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the country for three decades through 2008.
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Earlier this week, on Monday, the ruling party formally into two factions, one run by the president and the other by his half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the country for three decades through 2008.

 

Yameen government's decision to quit Commonwealth, weeks after the organisation warned the country of suspension over failing to promote the rule of law and democracy, could serve as ammunition to the opposition coalition, Maldives United Opposition (MUO). 

 

The coalition was formed in June by Nasheed, who is living in exile in Britain, with an aim of toppling Yameen. 

 

The coalition says the administration is trying to cover up corruption including money laundering, accusations the government has denied. On Wednesday the group launched a campaign to lobby international support for political reform.

 

"There is no hopes domestically. We have exhausted all the options. We need more pressure from the international community to press the government for democracy," Abdulla Riyaz, a MUO lawmaker, told reporters in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. 

 

(WION with inputs from Reuters)