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S.Lanka president visits Maldives amid political crisis

[AFP, Wednesday, 7 July 2010 13:39 No Comment]

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse travelled on Wednesday to the Maldives, where a power struggle has left the country without a government, an official said.

Rajapakse was invited to visit the atoll nation by President Mohamed Nasheed, who is in a stand-off with the opposition-led parliament.

"The president is due to meet his counterpart as well as key opposition figures during the one-day visit," an official close to Rajapakse said.

Nasheed’s 13-member cabinet quit last week saying the parliament was blocking all its efforts to govern the nation of 330,000 Sunni Muslims.

Under the Maldives’ 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, but the cabinet resignation pre-empted the move.

Nasheed was elected in October 2008 for a five-year term while the parliament was elected in May 2009, also for a five-year term.

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