Dawn.com: MALE: The first democratically elected president of the Maldives resigned Tuesday and was replaced by his vice president after the police and army clashed in the streets of the island nation amid protests over the arrest of a top judge.
Mohammed Waheed Hassan, who previously worked as a top UNICEF official, was sworn in as the new Maldivian president in the afternoon.
The resignation marked a stunning fall for President Mohamed Nasheed, a former human rights campaigner who defeated the nation’s longtime ruler in the country’s first multiparty election.
Nasheed was also an environmental celebrity, traveling the world to persuade governments to combat the climate change that could raise sea levels and inundate his archipelago nation.
Nasheed presented his resignation in a nationally televised address Tuesday afternoon after police joined the protesters and then clashed with soldiers in the streets. Some of the soldiers then defected to the police side.
”I don’t want to hurt any Maldivian. I feel my staying on in power will only increase the problems, and it will hurt our citizens,” Nasheed said. ”So the best option available to me is to step down.”