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Maldives FM Quits During Family Power Dispute

FILE - Maldives Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, Oct. 3, 2015.

The Maldives' foreign minister resigned Tuesday amid reports of a family power dispute between the president, who is her uncle, and her father, who previously ruled the country for 30 years.

Dunya Maumoon told The Associated Press that she has submitted her resignation but won't immediately discuss the reasons.

The resignation comes amid differences between President Yameen Abdul Gayoom and his half-brother, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the leader of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives.

The rift surfaced last week when Maumoon openly opposed a law to lease out islands and lagoons for tourism projects without competitive bidding.

The dispute could exacerbate the country's already fragile politics, with Maumoon moving to strengthen his hold on the party.

Maldives became a multiparty democracy in 2008 after Maumoon's 30-year rule. But democratic gains have diminished in recent years.

Yameen is accused of using the courts, bureaucracy and police to suppress the opposition and the media.

Since Yameen was elected to office in 2013, four senior politicians have been jailed after trials that were widely criticized as lacking due process.

Maumoon's successor, Mohamed Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected president, resigned under heavy criticism for having ordered the military to detain one of the country's top judges. He then lost a presidential election to Yameen.

Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in jail last year after a court ruled that the jailing of the judge was akin to terrorism.

Yameen's former vice president, Ahmed Adeeb, was sentenced to 33 years in prison on corruption and terrorism charges, including an alleged plot to assassinate the president.

Yameen's former defense minister, Mohamed Nazim, and opposition party leader Sheik Imran Abdulla are also serving lengthy prison terms.