New Delhi, Feb 12: The Maldives is engulfed in a deepening political crisis, as the introduction of a state of emergency decree across the holiday islands prompted heavily-armed troops to storm the country’s top court and arrest a former president.
The crisis has reduced tourist arrival, which is key driver of economy, and it will reduce their growth, says an analysis done by Moody’s.
According to the report, the crisis will reduce growth and prompt us to revise down our current forecasts of 4.5 per cent real GDP growth in 2018. Tourism accounts for one-third of economic output.
In an unexpected move last week, the Maldives Supreme Court ordered the release of several imprisoned opposition lawmakers, ruling that their trials were politically motivated.
President Abdulla Yameen refused to comply with the decision and instead imposed a state of emergency for a period of 15 days. This afforded him sweeping powers to send security forces into the Supreme Court building in the capital city of Male on Monday.
Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed were both arrested in the early hours of Tuesday, local police said via Twitter, although charges were not specified. Their detention was soon followed by the arrest of Yameen’s estranged half-brother, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom — who had ruled the country for more than 30 years until a transition to democracy in 2008.
The report further says that this will have an immediate effect on the tourist arrivals. In 2017, tourist arrivals increased 8 per cent. More than 44 per cent of total tourist arrivals in 2017 were from Asia, with Chinese tourists accounting for 22 per cent of the total.