MALE, Maldives – The Maldives on Sunday holds its third-ever multiparty presidential election, as political tumult continues a decade after democracy was introduced to the Indian Ocean archipelago.
Here are some key moments in the Maldives’ recent political history:
January: A Boy Scout foils an attempted assassination of the Maldives’ long-time autocratic ruler, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, blocking a knife attack with his bare hands.
August: Gayoom signs a new constitution allowing multiparty elections and other democratic reforms. The constitution says Islam is the only religion Maldivians can legally practice.
October: In the country’s first multiparty election, Mohamed Nasheed, a former political prisoner, defeats Gayoom.
May: Police break up a protest demanding Nasheed’s resignation. Dozens of people are injured and many arrested.
September: Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayoom, ex-President Gayoom’s half brother, founds the Progressive Party of the Maldives.
January: The military arrests a top criminal court judge after he released an opposition leader who had been detained without warrant for allegedly defaming the government. The judge’s arrest prompts all courts to boycott sessions.
February: Nasheed resigns after a police mutiny and weeks of demonstrations over the judge’s arrest. Vice President Mohamed Waheed is sworn in as new head of state.
July: Nasheed is charged with illegally ordering the judge’s arrest.
September: Nasheed wins first round of presidential elections but without a clear majority.
October: Supreme Court annuls first-round result after a candidate alleges irregularities.
November: Yameen wins runoff election.
February: Nasheed is arrested on terrorism charges. Supporters protest in the capital.
March: Nasheed is sentenced to 13 years in prison in a trial widely seen as lacking due process.
September: An explosion on President Yameen’s boat injures his wife, aide and bodyguard. Authorities call it an assassination attempt.
October: Vice President Ahmed Adeeb is arrested on charges of involvement in the alleged assassination attempt.
January: Nasheed is granted permission to travel to Britain for spinal surgery.
May: U.K. grants Nasheed refugee status.
June: Adeeb is convicted of plotting to assassinate Yameen and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
August: Authorities issue arrest warrant for Nasheed for failing to return to Maldives.
September: Nasheed allies with former President Gayoom to challenge Yameen.
October: Maldives leaves the British Commonwealth, saying the group has sought to interfere in its politics. Six ruling party lawmakers defect to the opposition to challenge Yameen’s rule.
February: From exile in London, Nasheed says he plans to contest 2018 presidential election despite his outstanding prison sentence in Maldives.
March: A bid by opposition lawmakers to wrest control of Maldives’ Parliament fails.
July: Security forces lock down Parliament after opposition lawmakers storm the compound in an attempt to prevent a vote to impeach the parliamentary speaker.
August: Opposition lawmaker Qasim Ibrahim is jailed for more than three years on charges of bribery and plotting to overthrow the government.
February: Supreme Court orders the release of convicted politicians, including Nasheed. The government says it will not enforce the order and declares a state of emergency. Security forces storm the Supreme Court and arrest two justices. Later, they arrest Gayoom. Authorities accuse them of plotting to overthrow the government. Dozens are injured and arrested when police break up nationwide protests demanding Yameen’s resignation.
March: Authorities charge Gayoom and the two justices with terrorism. Yameen lifts the 45-day state of emergency.
May: The justices are sentenced to more than 19 months in prison on charges of influencing lower court decisions.
June: A court sentences Gayoom to 19 months in prison for failing to cooperate with a police investigation.
July: Opposition alliance names lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih from the Maldivian Democratic Party as its candidate for president after Nasheed abandons plans to contest the election.
August: Solih says he fears the government will rig the election.
September: The U.S. threatens to sanction Maldives officials if the elections are not free and fair.