Five big facts on Maldives political crisis

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed announced his resignation on Tuesday following weeks of public protests over his controversial order to arrest a senior judge.

Here are five facts on the current political crisis in the Maldives:

1) The President of the country, Mohammed Nasheed, has announced his resignation on national television. The country's vice-president, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, has taken over. "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 in his address to his country.  The new administration will be called the National Government of Maldives and will continue in office till 2013 when elections are due.

2) Earlier today, mutinous police took over the state television broadcasting station; they joined opposition protesters who have been demanding Mr Nasheed's resignation.  They accused him of acting undemocratically in ordering the arrest of the Criminal Court Chief Justice Abdulla Mohamed on charges of misconduct and favouring opposition figures.  Mr Mohamed remains in military custody.  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 the judge to be released.

3) Mr Nasheed was elected in 2008 when the Maldives staged its first democratic presidential election, unseating the long-serving autocratic regime of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.  The current political crisis is seen as a power struggle between the two leaders. 

4) Today, hundreds of policemen started demonstrating in the capital, Male.  Officials ordered them to withdraw protection for both pro and anti government supporters who were protesting in the streets. When Mr Nasheed visited the police and urged them to end the protest, they refused and instead chanted for his resignation.

5) The Maldives, a country of 1,192 Indian Ocean islands scattered across the equator, is famous for its upmarket holiday resorts and hotels that cater for honeymooning couples and high-end travellers.

Story First Published: February 07, 2012 14:16 IST

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