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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 16:31 GMT
Mauritius president resigns
Mauritius
Mauritius is popular with tourists and politically stable
The president of Mauritius, Cassam Uteem, has resigned in protest at a controversial anti-terrorism bill which the government wants signed into law.

Mr Uteem, whose post is largely honorary, has been locked in a power struggle with parliament over the law, which, among other things, allows the police to hold suspects for longer periods without charging them.

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

Mr Uteem refused to sign the bill earlier this week, forcing parliament to debate the issue again at a specially convened session on Thursday.

A BBC correspondent in the region said Mr Uteem left to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca shortly after his resignation.

Mr Uteem took office in July 1992. He was was expected to be replaced in June 2002.

Mauritius is politically stable and 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:

10 Jan 02 | Business
China investment in Mauritius cotton
10 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Mauritius
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