Maldives faces democracy test after 'coup' violence
MALE (AFP) - The Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives goes to the polls this weekend for a presidential election that will test its young democracy 18 months after a violent change in leadership.
Political unrest in February 2012 briefly threatened the country's vital tourism sector, which draws a million well-heeled visitors a year, following the ousting of former president Mohamed Nasheed.
Mr Nasheed, a scuba-diving former democracy activist, won the Maldives' first free vote in 2008, but resigned last year after a mutiny by police officers.
The 46-year-old denounced it as a coup, saying he was forced to step down at gunpoint, and accused then vice-president Mohamed Waheed of conspiring with former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to replace him.