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Maldives' ministers quit over 'delay' in democratic reforms

Maldives' ministers quit over 'delay' in democratic reforms

The justice minister and attorney general from the Maldives have resigned, saying they were frustrated with delays in introducing democratic reforms to the tiny nation, an official said Monday.
Attorney General Hasan Saeed, who is part of the Cabinet under the Maldives' constitution, and Justice Minister Mohammad Jameel handed in their resignations Sunday, government spokesman Mohamed Hussain Shareef said.
"They have resigned saying that they are not satisfied with the reforms and that the process has failed," Shareef said.
He called the resignations a "political move," meant to curry favor with opposition activists who accuse the government of insincerity in introducing political reforms.
The resignations came ahead of an Aug. 18 referendum, which will ask Maldivians to choose between an executive presidential system and a parliamentary system. The vote was intended to signal that the nation of 290,000 people, made up of a string of Indian Ocean atolls southwest of the southern tip of India, was moving toward democracy.
President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has ruled the archipelago with tight controls since 1978. He promised wide-ranging reforms in 2004 in response to international pressure sparked by anti-government riots and allegations of torture of political prisoners. The government has set the country's first multiparty elections for 2008.
"The president feels substantial progress has been made (in reforms), even if the process has been difficult it's not because due to a want of commitment from the government," Foreign Minister Ahmed Saeed told The Associated Press.
Gayoom's ruling party favors an executive presidential system, while the main opposition Maldives Democratic Party supports a parliamentary system.


Updated : 2021-10-20 03:47 GMT+08:00