February 7th, 2012
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President Mohamed Nasheed resigns

Maldivian President Mohamed  nasheedMale: Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed announced his resignation in a nationally televised address this afternoon following weeks of public protests over his controversial order to arrest a senior judge.”It will be better for the country in the current situation if I resign. I don’t want to run the country with an iron fist. I am resigning,” Mr Nasheed said.

Recently the police had also joined the protesters and clashed with soldiers in the streets. The protesting police took over the state television broadcasting station, joining opposition protesters calling for President Mohamed Nasheed to step down.  Vice President Dr Waheed will assume charge till a new arrangement is made. A new arrangement is expected to be in place over the next few days.

Mr Waheed will be sworn in this afternoon as the head of an all-party government called the National Government of Maldives. Mr Waheed emerged as a consensus candidate as protests in the country escalated, sources said.

In a message to the people, Dr.Waheed said: “During this dangerous situation facing the nation it is my duty to say a few words. I support the peaceful efforts of a large number of Maldivians trying to protect the Maldives constitution and religion. At this time I call upon all the institutions especially law enforcement agencies (the military) to uphold the constitution and the laws of the country. Refrain from obeying unconstitutional and illegal instructions. During this difficult time no chance should be given to anyone trying to hurt the people of our country or damage their property, especially no room should be afforded to those who would damage news agencies and media. I am saddened that VTV and other places in Male’ have been attacked. I call on those who are involved in this to immediately cease all such activities. As your Vice President I am prepared to do anything possible to overcome this situation.”

Last month the army arrested a senior criminal court judge, Judge Abdulla Mohamed. The arrest came after the judge ordered the release of a government critic, calling his arrest illegal. The vice president, Supreme Court, Human Rights Commission, Judicial Services Commission and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights have all called for Mr Mohamed to be released. The judge is still in custody. The government alleged that the judge’s rulings were politically motivated. They too joined in the protests headed by former dictatorial leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Mr Mohamed Nasheed a former political prisoner and activist came to power after elections in 2008 which ended the 30 years of autocratic rule by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. He highlighted the threat of global warming to the low-lying islands.

Maldives has been gripped by constitutional gridlock, especially because parties opposed to him now dominate parliament. Mr Nasheed has faced constant opposition from those loyal to former President Gayoom and from religious conservatives who accuse him of being anti-Islamic and a moderate Islamist. Mr Nasheed had had the staunch support of both Colombo and New Delhi so far.



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