Timeline of political events leading up to Maldives election

In this Nov. 17, 2013, file photo, Maldives' newly elected President Yaamin Abdul Gayoom recites the oath during his inauguration in Male, Maldives. (AP)
Updated 21 September 2018

Timeline of political events leading up to Maldives election

MALE: The Maldives on Sunday holds its third-ever multiparty presidential election, as political tumult continues a decade after democracy was introduced to the Indian Ocean archipelago.
Here are some key moments in the Maldives’ recent political history:

January: A Boy Scout foils an attempted assassination of the Maldives’ long-time autocratic ruler, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, blocking a knife attack with his bare hands.
August: Gayoom signs a new constitution allowing multiparty elections and other democratic reforms. The constitution says Islam is the only religion Maldivians can legally practice.
October: In the country’s first multiparty election, Mohamed Nasheed, a former political prisoner, defeats Gayoom.

May: Police break up a protest demanding Nasheed’s resignation. Dozens of people are injured and many arrested.
September: Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayoom, ex-President Gayoom’s half-brother, founds the Progressive Party of the Maldives.

January: The military arrests a top criminal court judge after he released an opposition leader who had been detained without warrant for allegedly defaming the government. The judge’s arrest prompts all courts to boycott sessions.
February: Nasheed resigns after a police mutiny and weeks of demonstrations over the judge’s arrest. Vice President Mohamed Waheed is sworn in as new head of state.
July: Nasheed is charged with illegally ordering the judge’s arrest.

September: Nasheed wins first round of presidential elections but without a clear majority.
October: Supreme Court annuls first-round result after a candidate alleges irregularities.
November: Yameen wins runoff election.

February: Nasheed is arrested on terrorism charges. Supporters protest in the capital.
March: Nasheed is sentenced to 13 years in prison in a trial widely seen as lacking due process.
September: An explosion on President Yameen’s boat injures his wife, aide and bodyguard. Authorities call it an assassination attempt.
October: Vice President Ahmed Adeeb is arrested on charges of involvement in the alleged assassination attempt.

January: Nasheed is granted permission to travel to Britain for spinal surgery.
May: UK grants Nasheed refugee status.
June: Adeeb is convicted of plotting to assassinate Yameen and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
August: Authorities issue arrest warrant for Nasheed for failing to return to Maldives.
September: Nasheed allies with former President Gayoom to challenge Yameen.
October: Maldives leaves the British Commonwealth, saying the group has sought to interfere in its politics. Six ruling party lawmakers defect to the opposition to challenge Yameen’s rule.

February: From exile in London, Nasheed says he plans to contest 2018 presidential election despite his outstanding prison sentence in Maldives.
March: A bid by opposition lawmakers to wrest control of Maldives’ Parliament fails.
July: Security forces lock down Parliament after opposition lawmakers storm the compound in an attempt to prevent a vote to impeach the parliamentary speaker.
August: Opposition lawmaker Qasim Ibrahim is jailed for more than three years on charges of bribery and plotting to overthrow the government.

February: Supreme Court orders the release of convicted politicians, including Nasheed. The government says it will not enforce the order and declares a state of emergency. Security forces storm the Supreme Court and arrest two justices. Later, they arrest Gayoom. Authorities accuse them of plotting to overthrow the government. Dozens are injured and arrested when police break up nationwide protests demanding Yameen’s resignation.
March: Authorities charge Gayoom and the two justices with terrorism. Yameen lifts the 45-day state of emergency.
May: The justices are sentenced to more than 19 months in prison on charges of influencing lower court decisions.
June: A court sentences Gayoom to 19 months in prison for failing to cooperate with a police investigation.
July: Opposition alliance names lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih from the Maldivian Democratic Party as its candidate for president after Nasheed abandons plans to contest the election.
August: Solih says he fears the government will rig the election.
September: The US threatens to sanction Maldives officials if the elections are not free and fair.

India train disaster toll rises amid anger over safety

Updated 21 min 57 sec ago

India train disaster toll rises amid anger over safety

  • Many bodies were badly dismembered and police said identification of the victims could take several days
  • The funerals of some victims were held Saturday and the accident brought widespread demands for tough action by authorities

AMRITSAR, India: Around 60 people are now known to have died when a train plowed into a crowd of revellers watching a firework display in India, officials said Saturday.
Dozens more were hurt in the accident, some of them seriously, and overwhelmed local hospitals ran out of space for the dead, forcing them to leave some bodies outside.
The disaster, near Amritsar in the north of the country on Friday, led to new demands for safety reforms to India’s accident-plagued railway system, which records thousands of deaths each year.
Reports said the train hit scores of people who had gathered on tracks to watch the burning of a firework-packed effigy of the demon king Ravana for a Hindu festival.
Police said victims did not hear the Jalandhar-Amritsar express arriving because the noise was drowned out by firecrackers.
Another train had narrowly missed the crowds two minutes earlier, officials said.
Many bodies were badly dismembered and police said identification of the victims could take several days, officials said.
Amritsar’s main hospital did not have enough space in its morgue, and some corpses were laid outside.
Hardeep Singh, chief medical officer for Amritsar, told AFP 59 deaths had been confirmed and 90 people had been injured.
Singh said only 25 bodies had been identified so far.
Media reports said there were 61 dead.
The funerals of some victims were held Saturday and the accident brought widespread demands for tough action by authorities.
Punjab state governor V.P. Singh Badnore said: “Those who need to be punished will be punished and accountability will be fixed.”
A 2012 government report described the loss of 15,000 passengers to rail accidents every year in India as a “massacre.” The government has pledged $137 billion over five years to modernize the crumbling network.
Railway minister Piyush Goyal returned early from a trip to the United States to go to Amritsar on Saturday. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh called off a trip to Israel to go to the disaster scene.