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Maldives opposition urges government to ease visa rules for media

17:20 13-09-2018
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The main Maldives opposition party said on Wednesday that President Abdulla Yameen's government must ease "draconian" visa measures limiting the number of foreign journalists coming to cover a presidential election on Sept. 23, Euronews reports.

Yameen is seeking a second five-year term in the Indian Ocean archipelago popular with tourists. But his main rivals have been jailed for charges ranging from terrorism to attempting to topple the government, leading to doubts abroad about the legitimacy of the vote.

The Maldives has been beset by political instability since a police mutiny forced its first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Nasheed, out of office in 2012.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said in a statement that visa rules were aimed at keeping foreign journalists out "in order to reduce scrutiny of (Yameen's) unlawful and unconstitutional behaviour".

It called for the regulations to be eased.

"The measures should be viewed as a pre-emptive cover-up of planned electoral fraud," it said.