Maldives opposition urges tourist boycott
AFPMALE, Maldives--The Maldivian opposition appealed to foreign holidaymakers on Saturday to boycott the upmarket tourist destination as authorities indefinitely postponed a presidential runoff amid mounting international concern.
September 29, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
The runoff had been slated for Saturday between human rights activist Mohamed Nasheed and Abdulla Yameen, a half-brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the Maldives with an iron fist for three decades before the first elections in 2008.
“It's mainly the tourism profits that go to finance the suppression of democracy in the Maldives,” main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) spokesman Hamed Abdul Ghafoor told AFP.
“This is why we appeal to other countries to slap a tourism ban on the Maldives,” Ghafoor said as the party extended its protests to resorts in the secluded coral islands with pristine beaches.
Nasheed is the candidate of the MDP and was forced to quit as president 20 months ago in what his supporters described as a coup.
The Supreme Court called off the runoff amid allegations of irregularities in the first round in which Nasheed narrowly missed garnering 50 percent of the ballots needed to claim outright victory.
Tourism is a key source of revenue for the Maldives, a nation of 350,000 Sunni Muslims, which attracted over a million tourists last year.
Dozens of Maldivian resort workers on Saturday carried placards denouncing the Supreme Court move to suspend Saturday's vote pending the investigation into a complaint of malpractice in the first round three weeks ago.