Maldives Prez adds more Gayoom loyalists to cabinet

Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed on Monday picked up two more Gayoom-era officials to fill crucial cabinet berths.

Male: Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed on Monday
picked up two more Gayoom-era officials to fill up the crucial
cabinet berths of Foreign Affairs and Finance, even as the
all-party talks to reconcile political differences and set out
a future roadmap lay in shambles.

Waheed appointed Abdul Samad Abdulla, Maldives` envoy to
Bangladesh during Maumoon Abdul Gayoom`s time as the new
Foreign Minister, and gave the finance portfolio to Abdulla
Jihad, who earlier held the ministry as well as the position
of the Central Bank governor during Gayoom`s regime in 2008.

With the new appointments, former loyalists of the Gayoom
regime now dominate Waheed`s cabinet that also has the former
dictator`s daughter, Dhunya Maumoon as a State Minister for
Foreign Affairs.

Waheed had earlier appointed former Justice Minister
Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, as the Home Minister, and Mohamed Nazim,
a former military officer under Gayoom, as his Minister of
Defence and National Security.

He also chose Gayoom`s spokesperson, Mohamed Hussain
Shareef as his Minister for Human Resources, Youth and Sports
and made Gayoom`s lawyer, Azima Shakoor, as the Attorney

The appointments came at time when differences are
widening between the government supporters and those of ousted
president Mohamed Nasheed, with the all party talks to take
forward an India-brokered deal lying suspended.

At the moment, major parties who are part of the talks
have withdrawn their representatives after the Maldivian
Democratic Party`s lawmakers disrupted parliament and
prevented the president from deliver his address last week.

With the coordinator of the talks leaving the country on a
private trip, the talks have been temporarily suspended, the
Secretariat announced yesterday.

MDP leaders meanwhile are threatening the government that
they will paralyse its functioning unless the government gives
a date for the presidential elections.

Under an India-brokered deal, the Waheed government had
agreed to hold an early election in line with Nasheed`s

Nasheed told his supporters today that he would not allow
the Majlis to function until a date for the presidential
elections is finalised.

During the early hours of the day today, some MDP
supporters tried to enter a high security zone, trying to make
their way to official residence of President Waheed.

Incidents of arson and protest are still being reported in
the capital Male.

On Saturday night, some people tried to set ablaze two
different police sub posts.

A marathon protest by MDP workers is continuing from the
17th of last month at the Tsunami monument, where MDP leaders
address the protesters every night, repeating their demands
for an early election and resignation of the president.

Leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), Ahmed
Thasmeen Ali, said he hoped the Speaker of Majlis will convene
a session for so that the President can deliver his
presidential address, if if it means using security measures.

Meanwhile, the Maldives` Police promoted its Assistant
Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed to the post of Deputy
Commissioner while the Maldives National Defense Force
promoted Brigadier General Ahmed Mohamed, to the rank of Vice
Chief of Staff.

The DCP rank at Maldives Police Service was vacant after
the events of February 7 when Nasheed was ousted and the
former Vice Chief of Staff of MNDF had retired last week.