Maldivian regime comes out with a roadmap to end crisis

Last Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 23:49

Male: With India mediating to end the
crisis, the new Maldivian regime on Thursday came out with a roadmap
that could lead to early elections which the ousted president
Mohammad Nasheed`s party MDP is also in favour of.

On its part, MDP appears to be shedding its hardline by
reconsidering its decision to hold a rally tomorrow which many
feared could trigger violence and could lead to arrest of
former president.

Winding up his hectic visit with a round of meetings with
President Mohammed Waheed Hassan, Nasheed and all other
stakeholders, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai announced that
consequent to his discussions all the parties have agreed on a
formulation to get the country out of the more than week old
crisis.

44-year-old Nasheed, the first democratically-elected
President, resigned on February 7 after which he claimed he
was eased out of power in a coup.

Mathai 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.

Mathai who also met Abdullah Yameen of the PPM, Thasmeen
Ali of the DRP, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the
Speaker of the People`s Majlis, reiterated India`s belief that
there is need for a Maldivian-led process for reconciliation
and resolving political differences through constitutional
means.

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

The government of National Unity will work towards the
conditions that will permit such elections to take place
including any necessary constitutional amendments, Mathai
said.

"Our understanding is that elections would be held as
early as considered feasible by all concerned. This is to be
discussed by the Parties," Mathai said.

While the current regime was talking of polls only in
2013 as scheduled, the ruling coalition appears to have
changed its strategy following India`s diplomatic efforts.

Mathai said the President`s roadmap provides a "very good
basis" for parties to resolve their differences.

Asked if India backs an early election, the primary
demand of ousted President Nasheed, Mathai said, "Timing has
to be decided in an all party conference."

Replying to a query if India has changed its stand on
early elections, he said there has been no change.

"That is precisely what we are saying even now. Because,
they have among themselves decided to hold discussions on an
early election and we are endorsing that. I repeat we want a
Maldivian led process and a Maldivian solution to what is a
Maldivian problem," he said at a press conference here.

Earlier, asked about India`s stand for calls for early
elections, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External
Affairs M Ganapathi, who was sent as Prime Minister`s Special
envoy last Friday, had said, "I think it has to be determined
by the political leadership here. And we will go with
political leadership`s decision and as stipulated in the
constitution of Republic of Maldives".

Speaking to foreign correspondents earlier in the day,
Maldivian president Hassan had said he fears that protesters
could indulge in violence at tomorrow`s planned MDP rally.

Sources said that the rally could either be called off
or would be limited to just a gathering.

The announcement of a roadmap came on a day when
President`s office issued a statement that Hassan has written
a letter to the MDP urging them to join the national unity
government, an offer that was rejected by it immediately.

Talking about his visit, Mathai who flew in by a special
flight last evening, said, "I came as part of our continued
engagement to be of assistance in finding a way forward in
these very difficult political circumstances.

He said that during his meetings, he reiterated India`s
belief that there is need for Maldivian-led process for
reconciliation and resolving political differences through
constitutional means.

"There was a degree of convergence on how matters should
be taken forward. The Parties also agree to the need for
maintenance of constitutional order," he said.

In the roadmap titled `Maldives Elements of a Possible
Way Forward`, the government said under the head `Immediate
Action` that all sides will ensure that a period of calm can
prevail, to ensure space for further discussions among the
relevant parties.

It said all leaders will call upon their followers to
pursue political aims exclusively through dialogue and
peaceful aims.

It said that while the right to peaceful assembly will
be respected, there will be no incitement to violence against
people and property.

"The government and relevant agencies will ensure that
the police and security services will exercise restraint and
not resort to excessive measures, putting at risk the lives
and well being of members of the public, including peaceful
demonstrators," it said.

The roadmap also talked about steps to be taken to ensure
due process for anyone detained and full access to their
families and lawyers and that no one shall be detained through
extra legal processes and for political reasons.

"There will be no vengeance or politically motivated
prosecutions," it said.

Mathai had arrived here last evening to this picturesque
country that has seen political unrest since last week when
Nasheed resigned.

Nasheed had later said that he was forced to resign and
had alleged coup, a charge denied by the current regime headed
by his then Vice President.

While Mathai met Hassan at his residence, the Foreign
Secretary met Nasheed at the Indian High Commission here
yesterday.

Nasheed who had openly expressed his disappointment with
the Indian government for the stand taken by it on the crisis
however said last night he was "much more satisfied" with New
Delhi.

"I now fully understand how things may be brought into a
proper alignment and I am much more satisfied,? he had said
when asked if he had expressed his unhappiness to Mathai.

Mathai was accompanied by Harsvardhan Shringla, Joint
Secretary (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives) in the External
Affairs Ministry,
Since the political crisis gripped the Indian Ocean
island nation, there have been a slew of diplomatic visits
here from various countries, including the US.

Currently, a delegation of the European Union is in Male.
A Commonwealth delegation is also scheduled to arrive here
tomorrow.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 23:49

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