The president of the Maldives has lost all legitimacy but kept his job

Feb 08, 2018

FIRST soldiers and police surrounded the Supreme Court in Malé, the claustrophobic, sea-girt capital of the Maldives. Then, earlier this week, they hauled off the chief justice and two associates in the dead of night. Abdulla Yameen has racked up many accomplishments since becoming president of the strategic archipelago in 2013, from befriending China and Saudi Arabia to hounding both the opposition and leaders of his own coalition, intimidating the remains of a free press and, earlier this month, shutting parliament. Now he has suspended much of the constitution and declared a 15-day state of emergency.

Mr Yameen may have become a full-blown dictator, but he seems to see himself as the victim of a monstrous injustice. The court, he claims, was paving the way for a coup by nefarious forces. How else to explain its actions on February 1st, when it ordered the release of political prisoners and the reinstatement of MPs who had crossed over to the opposition? The chief justice must have been...

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