The president Mohamed Nasheed was elected in 2008 ending the 30 year rule of Maumoon Gayoom. Under Gayoom's rule Nasheed was jailed 27 times when in opposition for a combined period of six years. Many consider Nasheed as having brought democracy to the Maldives. However there now seems to be popular opposition to his rule.
Police have joined the opposition protesters and in some cases troops as well. Nasheed felt that it was better for the country to resign in the face of such opposition. Some are calling the situation in effect a military coup.
Nasheed's vice-president Mohamed Waheed was sworn in as interim leader. A statement from the president's office said: ."The government of Maldives together with all state institutions will work to ensure peace and stability in Male," "Government of Maldives calls to people to remain calm and support to stabilise the situation." A military spokesperson said:"It is not a coup. Definitely not a coup, "The military advised the president to resign today. It was his initiative." However, an official associated with Nasheed said that it was definitely a coup. In any event coup or no coup Nasheed has accepted the situation no doubt to spare his nation bloodshed or civil war. For more see this article.