Last night, the Maldivian capital witnessed a mass rally orchestrated by the "Coalition Against the Selling of Maldivian Oceans", a multi-party alliance comprised of opposition Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), Maldives National Party, newly formed The Democrats, former Attorney Generals Dr. Mohammed Munnavar and Azima Shukoor, and former Home Minister and presidential candidate Umar Naseer. The rally was held in protest against the recent loss of a significant part of the Maldivian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to Mauritius.
This loss, totaling 45,331 km2 of the Maldivian EEZ, occurred following a ruling by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). The tribunal was able to reach this decision partly due to a letter from President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to the Prime Minister of Mauritius, in which he promised not to make any claims on the disputed Chagos Islands. The letter was cited as a critical piece of evidence in the ITLOS ruling.
Critics, including members of the opposition, have accused President Solih of accepting a $500 million bribe to alter the country's long-standing position on the Chagos Islands, which in turn paved the way for the loss of the EEZ. The government has yet to respond to these serious allegations.
Following this controversy, opposition members submitted no confidence motions against Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath and Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid, citing their roles in the EEZ debacle. They are also planning to introduce a similar motion against President Solih.
The mass rally, attended by thousands, has sent shockwaves through the government. The citizens' widespread outcry against the loss of Maldivian EEZ signifies a crucial moment in the country's political landscape, demanding accountability and transparency. The government's response to this escalating crisis will be closely watched in the coming days.