The Maldivian president will set up an interim supreme court as the opposition-controlled parliament blocked the appointment of new judges, the foreign minister said Saturday.
President Mohamed Nasheed's move would ensure the administration of justice even after the two-year term of the current supreme court expires at midnight Saturday, minister Ahmed Shaheed said.
"The parliament has failed to approve a new supreme court and that means we would be without a judiciary from Sunday, but the president can't allow that to happen," Shaheed told AFP by telephone from the capital island Male.
"You can't run the country without a judicial system. That is why the president is making an interim arrangement."
Prominent citizens will be included in the interim panel which will function until the parliament confirms the new judges in line with the 2008 constitution, he said. There was no immediate reaction from the opposition.
The luxury holiday paradise of Maldives embraced Western-style multi-party democracy in 2008 amid high hopes for reforms, but the country's parliament and president are from rival parties and are at loggerheads.
Nasheed's cabinet resigned en masse on June 29 saying it could not carry out its work because parliament was blocking their work.
Since then, Nasheed has reappointed the ministers but the parliament is refusing to ratify them as well as his nominee to head the supreme court in the archipelago of 330,000 Sunni Muslims.
The current political crisis in the Maldives goes back to the 2009 parliamentary election when the People's Party (DRP) led by former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom won a majority.
Although it gained control of the legislature, the DRP fell short of a two-thirds majority needed to impeach the president. At the same time, Nasheed cannot dismiss the assembly until it completes its full five-year term