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Maldives crisis solved

The week-long political deadlock in Maldives was resolved with President Mohamed Nasheed today reinstating the members of his cabinet who had resigned en masse last week.

world Updated: Jul 08, 2010 02:02 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The week-long political deadlock in Maldives was resolved with President Mohamed Nasheed on Wednesday reinstating the members of his cabinet who had resigned en masse last week.

A power struggle between the executive and the opposition-controlled Majlis (Parliament) had triggered the resignations, leaving the 1192-island country without an effective government for a week.

Hectic late night negotiations between the government and the opposition, coordinated separately by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, US ambassador Patricia Butenis and Indian diplomats in Male, seemed to have resolved the deadlock.

Rajapaksa had rushed to Male early on Wednesday to mediate between the government and the opposition parties. He had a series of meeting with various leaders including former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Butenis, US envoy to both Sri Lanka and Maldives, similarly held meetings to resolve the crisis, the first of its kind for the 20-month old democracy in Maldives.

Nasheed met four of the country’s opposition parties, in a meeting arranged by Butenis where, according to the Maldives media, he kept his own minutes as he was attending it alone.

Police, however, will continue investigations on bribery allegations against two opposition MPs who allegedly tried to pay independent law makers – a case of cash for votes -- to side against the government.

"The Cabinet was reinstated on Wednesday. The President has suitably addressed the issues raised by the cabinet, especially the on the issue of the Bill to amend the Public Finance Act; he will not ratify it," Mohamed Zuhair, spokesperson at President's office told HT from Male.

Zuhair added that investigations against the two MPs – who are under house arrest till July 15 -- would carry on. "The report on the allegations (of bribery) is likely to be submitted in 10 days," he said.

Under the Maldives' system of government, the President his cabinet and each nomination must be approved by parliament, which can later seek to remove a minister through a no-confidence vote. The opposition had planned to bring a no-confidence motion against the education minister, but the cabinet resignation pre-empted the move.

The cabinet had quit saying the Parliament was blocking all its legislative moves.

Nasheed was elected in October 2008 for a five-year term while the parliament was elected in May 2009, also for a five-year term.