South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights


8 JANUARY 2013

Release of expert report on the democratic transition in the Maldives

Professor Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago Law School

The Maldives’ new democracy has now been in crisis for a year. The first multi-party elections in 2008 brought to power a former prisoner of conscience after 30 years of autocratic rule. Yet by early 2012 President Nasheed had resigned, claiming a coup d’etat and calling for an international boycott against his own country.

This study by Chicago Law Professor Tom Ginsburg looks at the current prospects of establishing a constitutional democracy in the Maldives, and identifies the most likely scenario as a cycle of failed governments and perennial fiscal crises. The Maldives has already portended much for other recent democratic transitions and this assessment holds salutary lessons on the critical importance of constitutional design and focused institutional development during the initial years of deep systemic change.

The study was supported by UNDP and the US State Department, and is the most recent impartial expert study undertaken on the causes of the political crisis in the Maldives. Electronic copies of the report can be downloaded from the links below and contact for any queries can be made to email [email protected]. 2012_(Electronic_Version).pdf