Central & South Asia
Entire Maldives cabinet resigns
President says ministers are no longer able to work with opposition-led parliament.
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2010 16:46 GMT
Nasheed's privatisation plans have failed to win the approval of opposition MPs [AFP]

The Maldives' entire cabinet has resigned en masse after the opposition threatened to bring a parliamentary vote of no confidence against every minister.

The 13-member cabinet said on Tuesday that it could no longer work with the opposition-controlled majlis, or parliament, the office of Mohamed Nasheed, the president, announced on Tuesday.

"The majlis is preventing cabinet ministers from performing their legal obligations," Nasheed said in a statement.

"Majlis members are behaving against the spirit and the letter of the constitution."

Nasheed will remain in office despite the resignation of his cabinet.

Husnu Suood, the attorney general, said it was becoming difficult to govern the archipelago in the Indian Ocean.

"Every passing week, there is another attempt by opposition MPs to wrestle more control from the executive," Suood said.

"They are making the country ungovernable."

There was no immediate comment from the opposition on the resignations.

Privatisation plans

The opposition has resisted an ambitious privatisation programme proposed by Nasheed, who came to power in 2008 as the first democratically elected leader in the Indian Ocean atoll nation known for its upmarket tourism.

"The cabinet was fed up," a government official said.

Nasheed held the world's first undersea cabinet meeting to highlight climate change [File: EPA] 

"They could not make any headway with the parliament which was out to block them at every step of the way. They threatened to bring no confidence motions against every minister."

He said a motion was to be taken up Wednesday against one of the ministers and the mass resignation had blocked the move. Political sources said Nasheed could re-appoint the cabinet.

Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) enjoys the support of a maximum of 32 MPs in the 77-member assembly, while the opposition Maldivian People's Party (DRP) has more than 40.

The DRP of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has remained the largest single party even though he lost to Nasheed in the 2008 elections.

Nasheed's popularity at home has waned as he struggles in the face of parliamentary resistance to deliver promised political and economic changes.

Endangered nation

Nasheed's profile abroad has soared, however, thanks to stunts aimed at attracting global attention to global warming and its impact on the islands of his low-lying nation.

In October last year, Nasheed and the government held a widely-publicised underwater cabinet meeting to highlight their plight ahead of the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen.

More than 80 per cent of the country's land, composed of coral islands scattered over an area about 850km across the equator, is less than one metre above sea level.

The executive and the legislature in the Maldives are elected directly by the people at two separate polls.

Nasheed's term ends in October 2013 while the parliament can be in office until May 2014.

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