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State of emergency extended by 30 days in Maldives

The Maldives has been under a state of emergency since 5 February.

The Supreme Court this month ordered the reinstatement of 12 lawmakers stripped of their parliamentary seats by Yameen's party for defecting a year ago.

Yameen declared a 15-day state of emergency earlier this month, curtailing the powers of the judiciary and the legislature after the country's Supreme Court ruled to quash criminal convictions against high profile opposition politicians.

The tiny Indian Ocean island chain is best known for its luxury hotels, scuba-diving resorts and limpid tropical seas. It has had to repeatedly clarify that it does not intend to militarily intervene in the crisis, like it did in 1988.

However, according to sources, the government now wants to revise the committee's decision which can only be seen as a new tactic to delay the vote on the state of emergency extension.

Under the emergency, Yameen's administration has arrested the chief justice, another Supreme Court judge and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on allegations of attempting to overthrow the government.

Parliament Speaker Abdulla Maseeh quoted parliamentary regulations which do not include state of emergency declarations among the votes where a constitutionally required quorum is needed.

The opposition boycotted Tuesday's vote, and the emergency extension was approved, with 38 ruling party legislators voting in favour. The Supreme Court said the anti-defection ruling was issued as a temporary solution to the constitutional dispute case filed by the state but insisted that the relevant authorities have failed to bring to effect an anti-defection law specified in the ruling.

The Maldives Parliamentary Standing Committee on Tuesday voted to extend the state of emergency by 30 days.

"It is important that the Maldives quickly returns to the path of democracy and the rule of law so that the aspirations of Maldivian people are met and the concerns of the worldwide community are assuaged", the MEA said.

Yameen has jailed nearly all his political opponents since coming to power in late 2013.

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, leader of the opposition coalition's parliamentary group, said: "This state of emergency is illegal".

Earlier this month the remaining judges of the court reversed their earlier order to release nine political prisoners, including Yameen's main rival, Mohamed Nasheed.

Yameen has faced worldwide censure over his refusal to abide by the top court's rulings and his declaration of a state of emergency, described by the United Nations human rights chief as "an all-out assault on democracy".

Many countries have issued travel advisories directing citizens to avoid travelling to the Maldives.

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