Added At: 2010-07-01 10:59 PM
Last Updated At: 2010-07-02 10:59 PM
Agence France Presse
COLOMBO: A Maldivian court has ordered the house arrest of two key opposition lawmakers amid a power struggle between the country’s president and parliament, an official said today.
The Criminal Court of Male told police on Wednesday night to keep the two men under house arrest for three days, but the government immediately appealed to the High Court to keep them detained for longer, the official said.
“The government argues that these two MPs have been trying to bribe independent lawmakers to vote against the government,” the official who declined to be named said. “Investigations are still underway.”
MPs Abdulla Yamin and Qasim Ibrahim, both leaders of smaller opposition parties, were arrested by police on Tuesday shortly after a political crisis erupted when the cabinet resigned en masse.
President Mohamed Nasheed and the opposition-controlled parliament are at loggerheads over how to run the atoll nation of 330,000 Sunni Muslims two years after the Indian Ocean state held its first multi-party elections.
Nasheed’s 13-member group of ministers quit on Tuesday, saying parliament was blocking all its efforts to govern the country, South Asia’s most expensive tourist destination, and undermining the authority of the executive.
Officials said Nasheed, 43, who came to power in 2008 as the Maldives’ first democratically elected leader, would hold off on re-naming a cabinet as the administration functioned with deputy ministers and civil servants.
Opposition People’s Party, or DRP, said it was pressing for Nasheed to resign. “People are demanding Nasheed’s immediate resignation,” DRP spokesman Mohamed Shareef said.
The opposition-led parliament does not have the required two thirds majorities to impeach Nasheed who has no power to dissolve the legislature.
Under the Maldives’ presidential system of government, the president handpicks his cabinet and each nomination must be approved by parliament, which can later seek to remove a minister through a no-confidence vote.