“When is a coup not a coup? This vexed question has been exercising the citizens of the Maldives ever since their first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, was driven from office in February amid a violent rampage by police mutineers,” writes Simon Tisdall for the UK’s Guardian newspaper.
“His successor, former vice-president Mohamed Waheed, claims to hold power legitimately. Opponents including members of Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic party (MDP) say Waheed now oversees a “police state” and warn of deepening political rifts and ever greater human rights abuses.
The crisis that erupted in the Indian Ocean republic eight months ago caused widespread alarm. Nasheed, a former political prisoner, was voted into office in 2008 after 30 years of autocratic rule by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
The result was widely hailed as a triumph for democracy. But the old regime took defeat badly. Resentment turned into open revolt after Nasheed ordered the detention of the chief justice of the criminal court, who was suspected of obstructing investigations into bribery and corruption allegations involving former regime figures.”