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Maldives President Nasheed quits after police coup

Last updated on: February 7, 2012 17:27 IST

Maldives President Nasheed quits after police coup

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President Mohamed Nasheed on Tuesday resigned from his post following widespread protests in the country. He made the announcement after signing a letter of resignation addressed to the speaker of the people's majlis.

 

Click here for Realtime News Updates from Maldives

 

In his resignation statement, President Nasheed said: "I believe if I continue as the president of the Maldives, the people of the country would suffer more. I, therefore, have resigned".

"I wish that the Maldives would have a consolidated democracy. I wish for justice to be established. My wish is for the progress and prosperity of the people," he said.

 

According to CNN, quoting Ahmed Rasheed -- an executive producer at the state TV station, a peaceful standoff with members of the Maldives defence forces in Republic Square turned violent early Tuesday morning. Later in the day, around 200 policemen took over the state TV station. They changed its name from the Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation back to its old name, Television Maldives.

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Image: President Mohamed Nasheed announcing his resignation


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Dr Mohamed Waheed took the oath to office shortly after Nasheed's resignation. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain.

Nasheed's spokeman said, "This morning, about 500 opposition supporters along with some Islamic hardliners protested outside the army headquarters, shouting slogans and some police officers mutinied and joined them."

"And so, the president was in a situation where he could either tell the army to forcibly crack down on the protesters or he could step down. He chose the latter."

The police officers appeared to have sided with the Progressive Party, which is loyal to former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled Maldives for 30 years before Nasheed defeated him.

"This is a situation where the first democratically elected president in the Maldives is taken down by a former dictator and his supporters," the spokesman said.

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Image: Dr Mohamed Waheed taking the oath to office


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Nasheed swept to victory in 2008, pledging to bring full democracy to the Indian Ocean archipelago famed for its luxury resort hideaways, but drew opposition fire for his arrest of a judge he accused of being in the pocket of his predecessor Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled for 30 years.

 

The nation was rocked by violent protests last year when Nasheed accused Gayoom's supporters of orchestrating. But demonstrators said at the time they were protesting economic conditions, created by reforms imposed by Nasheed.

 

The government also clashed with opposition groups in December over the issues of massage parlours and the sale of pork and alcohol in resorts.

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Responding to the turn of events in Maldives, India said it was closely monitoring the situation in that country, but termed it as "internal matter" which as of now needs no outside assistance and said its community there was safe.

 

"We have noted the decision of President Mohamed Nasheed to resign in favour of Vice President Mohamed Waheed. This is an internal matter of the Maldives, to be resolved by

Maldivians. We hope that all issues will be resolved in a peaceful and democratic manner," official spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affair said in New Delhi.

 

India has traditionally enjoyed close ties of friendship and cooperation with the Maldives, he said, adding, "We remain committed to extending the fullest support and cooperation to the Maldivian government in its endeavour to promote peace and progress there and the prosperity and well being of its people.

 

Hoping that there will be "greater scope for stability" for the national government, led by Waheed and comprising nominees of both government and opposition, official sources said, "We hope that the worst is over. It is positive that there has been an amicable solution to the turmoil going on in Maldives."

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