India proposes early presidential elections in Maldives

India has proposed early presidential elections in Maldives to end the political impasse in the country.

Male: India has proposed early presidential
elections in Maldives to end the political impasse in the
country following the ouster of the first democratically
elected President Mohamed Nasheed.

During his talks with leaders of political parties last
night, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai proposed a paper which
hinted at presidential election before the end of this year,
local media quoted participants at the meeting as saying.

Mathai arrived here yesterday on an unannounced visit to
hold meetings with various stakeholders. This is his second
visit here following the political unrest that sieged the
country early this month following Nasheed`s ouster.

The Sun online claimed that the paper presented by Mathai
sought amendments to the Constitution within one month to pave
the way for an early Presidential election before December
this year.

Asked on the outcome of the meeting, chaired by the first
human rights commissioner of Maldives and ex-minister Ahmed
Mujuthaba, Mathai said he might tell something later today.

Indian High Commissioner to Maldives D M Mulay and
Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, former chief of Nasheed`s Maldivian
Democratic Party, were also present. Maldives current Attorney
General also attended the meeting towards the end.

During the meeting, few political leaders had some
differences with the Foreign Secretary and the meeting which
lasted for two hours didn`t find a consensus forward.

Some of the political parties representatives objected
the presence of Mathai at the meeting, saying it was not good
as the Indian Foreign Secretary is involving himself in the
internal matters of this country, media reports said.

Mathai came to Maldives at the peak of the differences
among the political parties and it was he who was able to make
all the political parties agree for talks.

Mujuthaba said there are so many points to be discussed
and among them two are very arguable.

That is the date of an early Presidential election and
the agreement between the political parties to make way for
President Mohamed Waheed to deliver the opening speech at the
Majlis (Parliament) tomorrow.

Mujuthaba also hoped that a consensus among the agenda
can come to an end at the meeting to be held later today.

The Foreign Secretary during his earlier visit on
February 15, had helped broker a deal between the political
parties here on the issue of early elections.

Sources had earlier said that India was willing to offer
any assistance, if asked for, for holding elections in the
country that had witnessed political unrest following the
resignation of Nasheed as President on February 7.

Noting that the People`s Majlis (Parliament) is scheduled
to meet on March 1, official sources had said they hoped "some
sort of understanding, some sort of arrangement among the
parties on not only on the date of elections but also for
cooperation on the floor of Parliament".

Mathai`s visit also comes in the backdrop of Minister of
State for Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon, Home Minister
Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and President`s spokesperson Abbas Adil
Riza saying that the present government, headed by Mohammed
Waheed, did not give assurance to any country or organisation
regarding early polls.