Did the former President, Mohamed Nasheed, hand over his resignation to the People's Majlis Speaker or did the Speaker get it from someone else?
His supporters say that Mr. Nasheed did not hand it over. But the version coming from government sources is that his office had given the resignation to the Speaker.
A reconstruction of events of February 7 – after speaking to several players – shows that Mr. Nasheed went up to the agitating policemen in the Republic Square and did not exactly befriend them. He told them that if they surrendered, then, they would be spared of major punishment. He was virtually reprimanding them, said one witness to the event.
The policemen did not budge. Next, Mr. Nasheed walks into the Integrated Headquarters of the Maldivian National Defence Forces – which is nearby, and demands that the MNDF take action against the policemen. MNDF pleaded with Mr. Nasheed: seniors told him that this was not advisable since many people too had joined the demonstrators. Also, the policemen were merely voicing their protest.
“You have to remember that the MNDF and the police were separated only in 2004. Most of the policemen who were agitating had worked with MNDF earlier,” said a diplomat. “It is not like in other countries where there is a mutiny and the Army can be called out to quell it,” he added.
There is still no clarity on what happened for the crucial few minutes from then on till he stepped out. Apparently, a few minutes later, MNDF personnel came out and announced to the restive crowd that Mr. Nasheed will resign. For this he needed to get to the Presidential office, a few metres away, the announcer said. He appealed to the crowd not to throw anything in the direction of the President.
Following this, MNDF men took positions on either side of the road and escorted him to the President's office. He went up to his chamber and wrote his resignation. It is not clear, again, if there was MNDF presence when he was signing it. Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) sources insist there was; and that the letter was snatched by the MNDF personnel and handed over to the Speaker. Government sources insist that he handed it over himself. Several calls to the Speaker on his mobile phone did not elicit a response.
Abdulla Yameen, parliamentary party leader of the Progressive Party of Maldives, and former President Gayoom's half-brother told The Hindu that Mr. Nasheed spoke to him soon after he resigned. “I was at the Indian High Commission. He called me and said he was resigning. Then he waits a whole day and tells the world that he resigned at gun point,” he said.
Maldivian politicians insist that it is not in their culture to threaten with guns or even quell mobs by firing at them. “Nothing of this sort has happened before. But look at Addu and other places [where police stations have been burnt]. Even the MDP has not accused the MNDF of firing at them,” said an officer.
Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Secretariat team lead by Akbar Khan, Director, legal and Constitutional Affairs Division and Principal Legal Adviser to the Secretary-General held discussions with all stakeholders to find out what actually transpired. Asked if he believed this was a coup, Mr. Khan said: “My job is to ascertain what happened and report it to the Commonwealth. I can't comment on it.”