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October 2008 - Mohamed Nasheed

Members of parliament declared their political affiliations long before the October 2008 multiparty elections. In accordance with the new constitution ratified by President Gayoom on August 7, 2008, the first round of presidential elections was held on October 10, 2008. Five opposition leaders were allowed to contest the presidential elections. As no candidate received 50% of the vote, a second round was held on October 29 between President Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed won with 54% of the vote. President Nasheed is among the founders of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

President Nasheed, a former Amnesty International "prisoner of conscience," promised to further strengthen democracy and increase media freedom. During his campaign, Nasheed pledged that if elected, he would hold early presidential elections in the middle of his term. Nasheed’s proposals, however, have encountered fierce resistance from opposition parties and he has been unable to advance legislation in the Majlis. Several of his cabinet ministers faced “no confidence” votes.

A coalition of several former opposition parties soon broke with Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party and left the government. Critics of Nasheed faulted him for the arrest of a prominent judge, as well as for economic policies they blamed for fueling inflation. Some accused him of failing to uphold the standards of the archipelago nation's traditional Muslim culture.

The unicameral Majlis, elected in May 2009, is composed of 77 members serving 5-year terms. In February 2009, the Majlis passed legislation that increased the number of seats to 77 from 50. Election results were: DRP 36.8%, MDP 32.9 %, PA 9.2%, DQP 2.6% Republican Party 1.3%, independents 17.1%; seats by party--DRP 28, MDP 26, PA 7, DQP 2, Republican Party 1, independents 13.

In a contentious series of events that included protests in January and February 2012, some of them violent, and charges of presidential abuse of power. On January 16, 2012, the military detained senior Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed without a court warrant. Opposition parties protested the arbitrary detention of the judge for 22 nights in the capital Male. On February 7, 2012, after several hundred police officers refused orders in the Republic Square, and a hundred military officers joined the police, President Nasheed resigned on live television.

2012 - Mohamed Waheed

Following Nasheed's resignation, Vice President Dr. Mohamed Waheed was sworn in as president by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ahmed Faiz in the presence of the Speaker of Parliament, Abdulla Shahid. On February 8, 2012, Nasheed claimed he was deposed in a military-led coup. A rally by the MDP on February 8 included violent confrontations between MDP supporters and the police. Since Nasheed’s resignation, the MDP had organized continuous rallies calling for an immediate presidential election, and blocked parliament for several weeks.

A Commission of National Inquiry (CONI), which conducted an inquiry into events between January 14 and February 8, concluded no coup had occurred, but called for the strengthening of democratic institutions to prevent similar crises in the future. The CONI also cited credible cases of police misconduct and recommended that they be investigated. Security forces respected the chain of command and reported to civilian authorities.

The commission was comprised of Ismail Shafeeu (cochair), Justice G. P. Selvam (cochair), Ibrahim Yasir, Ali Fawaz Shareef, and Ahmed Saeed (MDP representative). Prior to the release of the report, the MDP representative on the CONI resigned, citing the exclusion of critical pieces of evidence and testimony from the CONI report and findings. The MDP and former president Nasheed accepted the CONI report on September 1, albeit with reservations.

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Page last modified: 03-01-2018 18:30:54 ZULU