Maldives President Waheed addresses Assembly

Last Updated: Monday, March 19, 2012 - 17:40

Male: Amidst opposition supporters picketing Parliament and violence on the streets, Maldives President Mohammed Waheed on Monday gave his maiden Presidential address saying he was open for early elections.

Vowing to uphold the Constitution, Waheed delivered his 15-minute address, during which he said he had no objection to early elections, provided all parties agree and necessary constitutional amendments are made.

"This is the time for all of us to work together in one spirit, the time to bring political differences to the discussion table in order to formulate solutions", said the President, who formally opened the Parliament today.

This was Waheed`s second attempt to address the Parliament since he took office last month in a contentious power transfer.

Last time, the MPs of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of ousted President Mohammed Nasheed had prevented Waheed from making his address on March 1.

Even today, violence broke out both inside and outside the Parliament.

Police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators who clashed with them while the Parliament`s security staff forcibly removed a number of MDP lawmakers who were trying to block Waheed from addressing the House.

Nasheed has called for early elections and has alleged he was forced to resign because of a coup, a charge denied by the current regime.

Interestingly, Waheed, who served as vice president under Nasheed, today took to microblogging site Twitter to express his frustration.

He said there was no excuse for the international community to ignore Anni`s (Nasheed`s) "anarchic behaviour".

The Speaker Abdulla Shahid had even suspended proceedings after ordering MDP lawmakers to be evicted from the House.

As lawmakers prevented Waheed from addressing the Parliament, police fought battles with stone-pelting demonstrators outside.

A fire was noticed at an auction store house in the Southern part of the capital male, which is a VVIP area. The flames were close to the Male`s main powerhouse.

The new developments in Male came after Nasheed`s party last night passed a resolution vowing not to allow Waheed into the Parliament.

Commonwealth Secretary General`s special envoy Sir Donald Mckinnon met with leaders of the country to pave the way for a peaceful opening of the Parliament.

He met Waheed and former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and Nasheed.

PTI



First Published: Monday, March 19, 2012 - 14:36

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