Maldivian Oppn supporters ask govt to fix poll date

Over 7,000 supporters of the opposition MDP party of ousted President Mohammed Nasheed assembled here in a show of strength.

Male: Over 7,000 supporters of the opposition
MDP party of ousted President Mohammed Nasheed today assembled
here in a show of strength, demanding that the new regime
announce a date for polls under an India-brokered deal.

Though the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had initially
planned a massive protest rally today against the new regime
headed by President Mohammed Waheed Hassan, the party
restricted it to a political gathering at the `Tsunami
Monument` after India asked both sides to maintain restraint.

Hoara Ibbe, who was Under Secretary at the President`s
Office during Nasheed`s tenure, addressed the gathering,
saying that the protest would continue till Hassan announced a
date for Presidential polls.

Other speakers asked 59-year-old Hassan to resign
immediately and pave the way for formation of an interim
government. They also demanded "cleaning up" of judiciary.
Ibrahim Ismail, who was the first chairperson of MDP,
criticised Hassan`s government, calling it "unconstitutional"
and asked it to give a date for the elections.

Nasheed`s MDP had earlier said that it was grateful to
India for its "timely intervention" to help resolve the
political impasse here, a view shared by the new regime as

"It has been a positive movement, a forward movement.
India`s role was very much important in ensuring that
political and democratic process is on," Ibrahim Hussein Zaki,
a senior MDP leader and close aide of Nasheed, told PTI here.
"We are grateful to India for the timely intervention,"
Zaki, the then Special Envoy to Nasheed, said.

New Maldivian President Hassan too thanked India for its
efforts aimed at ending the political crisis here.

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, who was here on a
two-day visit, had met all stakeholders here, including Hassan
and Nasheed, and helped the government to come out with a
roadmap to ease the political crisis triggered by the last
week resignation of Nasheed in what he claimed was a coup

Mathai yesterday announced that consequent to his
discussions all the parties had agreed on a formulation to get
the country out of the crisis.

He had said there was a degree of convergence on how
matters should be taken forward and the parties agreed to the
need for maintenance of Constitutional order.

Under the agreed formulation, the government of national
unity would hold discussions with all relevant parties to
conduct elections by an early date.

It would work towards the conditions that would permit
such elections to take place, including any necessary
Constitutional amendments, Mathai had said.