Impeachment proceedings against Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen could be set in motion in the coming days by the country's Supreme Court as he continuous defies the top judicial body's order to release opposition leaders, who were arrested after unfair trials. Meanwhile, the atoll nation's attorney general has asked state bodies to disregard any court ruling on impeaching Yameen.
The island nation's Supreme Court had earlier ordered the release of several political prisoners including the now-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed in a heavy blow to the sitting government. But, the Yameen administration, which had faced several criticisms over its actions to crush dissent, has not yet implemented the top court's verdict.
"We have received information that things might happen that will lead to a national security crisis," said Attorney-General Mohamed Anil on Sunday, 4 February, on possible impeachment proceedings against the president.
"The information says the Supreme Court might issue a ruling to impeach or remove the president from power. State institutions have also received this information. Any institution of the state has no authority to exercise a power not afforded to them under the constitution," Anil was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Political unrest gripped the Indian Ocean archipelago ever since the court's judgment was issued on Thursday, 1 February, with violence breaking out in some parts of the island nation, which has a population of 420,000.
The top court said the charges against the opposition prisoners were politically motivated as protests were taking place on Friday and Saturday for the immediate release of the prisoners.
The court's decision to clear former leader Nasheed, along with others, of all charges would effectively reinstate 12 parliamentarians, thus restoring an opposition majority. Nasheed, however, has not returned to the Maldives yet and is currently in Sri Lanka.
The parliament which was to open on Monday, 5 February, has indefinitely been postponed in a fear that the ruling government could lose majority once the freed lawmakers are reinstated in the assembly.
Speaking for the first time on the matter since the judicial outcome, Yameen said on Sunday, 4 February: "We are working on making sure we can respect the Supreme Court order in a way that doesn't cause any difficulties to the people." Earlier, Yameen's office quickly removed the police chief as he was attempting to follow the court order in releasing the prisoners.
Earlier in a media statement sent to the IBTimes UK, the Maldivian presidential office cited the country's defence minister as saying that "the administration always puts the safety of the country and its people first. The administration will continue to work towards strengthening the Maldives' democratic system, and follow the administration's developmental policies".
Yameen took over as the president of the country in 2013 after winning against Nasheed in an election, which took place a year after Nasheed was forced to resign over rising political upheaval in the country.
After he lost the elections, Nasheed – the state's first democratically elected president – was slapped with a 13-year jail term for terrorism, triggering widespread condemnation. He later fled the country and was forced to live in exile.