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Monday, 18 February, 2002, 11:13 GMT
President resigns over terror bill
The President of Mauritius, Angidi Chettiar, has resigned in protest at a controversial anti-terrorism bill, leaving the country without a head of state for the second time in three days.

Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth
The prime minister has approved the bill

Mr Chettiar announced that, like his predecessor Cassam Uteem, he was not prepared to approve the bill, which, among other things, allows the police to hold suspects for longer periods without charging them.

Parliament has already passed the bill which enjoys the support of Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth.

But the Mauritian opposition says the law erodes the rights of suspects.

Reports from Mauritius say Prime Minister Jugnauth will now try and select a new president who is less closely aligned with the political opposition.

Under the Constitution of Mauritius, the president - whose post is largely ceremonial - is obliged to either sign the bill into law or leave office.

Mauritius, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, is a politically stable state, popular with tourists.

It has a population of 1.3 million.

Just over half are Hindu, with the next largest groups being Creole and Muslim.

See also:

15 Feb 02 | Africa
Mauritius president resigns
10 Jan 02 | Business
China investment in Mauritius cotton
10 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Mauritius
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