House arrest for Maldivian opposition MPs as crisis drags

July 1, 2010 (AFP) – A Maldivian court has ordered the house arrest of two key opposition lawmakers amid a power struggle between the country’s president and parliament, an official said Thursday.

Opposition People’s Party, or DRP, said it was pressing for Nasheed to resign. “People are demanding Nasheed’s immediate resignation,” DRP spokesman Mohamed Shareef said.

The opposition-led parliament does not have the required two thirds majority to impeach Nasheed who has no power to dissolve the legislature.

Under the Maldives’ presidential system of government, the president handpicks his cabinet and each nomination must be approved by parliament, which can later seek to remove a minister through a no-confidence vote.

The opposition had planned to bring a no-confidence motion against the education minister on Wednesday, but the cabinet resignation pre-empted the move.

Nasheed was elected in October 2008 for a five-year term while the majlis was elected at separate election in May 2009, also for a five-year term. The Criminal Court of Male told police on Wednesday night to keep the two men under house arrest for three days, but the government immediately appealed to the High Co