MALE, Maldives — Parliament in the Maldives on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to impeach the vice president after accusing him of dereliction of his duties.
Mohamed Jameel, deputy to President Yameen Abdul Gayoom since their election in 2013, was ousted by a near-unanimous vote; 78 lawmakers voted against him, two lawmakers for him and one abstained.
Jameel's impeachment was proposed by his own government colleagues and supported by the opposition in what is widely believed to be an exchange for concessions for jailed opposition leader and ex-president Mohamed Nasheed.
Jameel who is in Britain and did not return home to answer charges said in a media statement that he was sidelined by the government and was not allowed to work.
Nasheed was jailed earlier this year for 13 years after being convicted of ordering the arrest of a top judge when he was president three years ago.
It threatened a protracted political crisis; however, relations between the Gayoom government and opposition Maldivian Democratic Party have eased lately, paving the way for Nasheed to be transferred to house arrest and his party colleagues negotiating his release.
The Maldivian media reported earlier that the impeachment was brought to allow a Gayoom loyalist, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb, to be appointed to the position.
Parliament recently voted to lower the eligible age for president and vice president, ostensibly to enable Adeeb to take the position.
The Indian ocean archipelago nation became a multiparty democracy in 2008 following 30 years of autocratic rule by Gayoom's half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.