The minister of Islamic affairs Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed has resigned from the cabinet today.
The Adhaalath Party member announced his resignation in a tweet. “I have resigned from the Islamic minister’s post,” he said.
Shaheem’s resignation comes after the police arrested Adhaalath Party president Sheikh Imran Abdulla during a mass anti-government protest on Friday. The religious conservative party had split from the ruling coalition in March after the arrest and trial of ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim on weapons smuggling charges.
Dr Shaheem said that it was an immense pleasure to be part of President Abdulla Yameen’s cabinet, and thanked the government for its support.
Alhugandu islamic minister kamun isthiufaa dheefin. وما توفيقي إلا بالله عليه توكلت وإليه أنيب pic.twitter.com/6oGnAzBSxx
— د.محمد شهيم علي سعيد (@Mohamedshaheem1) May 5, 2015
His resignation comes within two days of opposition-aligned religious conservative Adhaalath Party calling upon all party members in high-level government positions to resign immediately.
President’s office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali confirmed the resignation via twitter, but declined to comment further.
Several members of the Adhaalath Party had resigned from the government in March and joined the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in a campaign against government authoritarianism.
But it is not clear if Shaheem will join the campaign. He was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
The Adhaalath Party has congratulated Shaheem for the “courageous” decision to resign from the cabinet, describing it as one that would benefit the country.
Speaking to Minivan News, former deputy gender minister Sidhatha Shareef said Shaheem’s resignation demonstrated his loyalty to the party.
However, she pointed out that she quit the ministry in order to “respect the party’s stand after it split from the ruling coalition. Dr Shaheem resigned after the party called upon party members in the government to resign.”
Adhaalath Party secretary general Iyaadh Hameed on Sunday called on all party members to resign following Imran’s arrest. The sheikh has been remanded for 15 days.
The opposition is continuing its protests despite a crackdown and the arrest of nearly 200 people from the May Day protest.