Nasheed party gets 4-day deadline to join govt

The President also stressed on the need to resolve the existing political rifts and to find a way forward.

Male: Setting a four-day ultimatum,
Maldives` new regime on Thursday asked the ousted president Mohammad Nasheed`s MDP party to join the national unity government but
was rebuffed, as India`s Foreign Secretary Ranjan Matahi met
all stakeholders here to help ease the political crisis.

"President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan has sent a letter to
(Nasheed`s) Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) requesting it to
inform, before February 20, its decision on joining the
national unity government," a statement issued by the new
regime said.

However, the MDP, which had sought snap polls, said it
had already informed the government that it would not join it
since it did not recognise the regime.

"We have officially informed them that we will not join
the government. There was a resolution of the party which said
we don`t recognise the government," party sources said.

The move came on a day when Foreign Secretary Ranjan
Mathai was here for talks with key stakeholders. Mathai,
who came here last night, met Hassan, Nasheed and other
Maldivian leaders.

Days after he expressed disappointment with India`s stand
on the Maldives` political crisis, Nasheed said that he was
now "much more satisfied" with the approach of New Delhi.

"It was very promising," 44-year-old Nasheed said last
night following his meeting with Mathai.

In his letter to MDP President Ibrahim Didi, Hassan said
that at a time when the country was deeply divided, the way
forward in achieving national aspirations was through working
together and a fully inclusive government, a statement
released by his office said.

He urged MDP to join the national unity government that
he was striving to form, it said.

In the letter, Hassan said he believed that, despite
political differences, the MDP President would view the need
to complete the reform process.

Hassan stressed that the reform process would take time
to complete.

Therefore, he said, he hoped the MDP President would see
that the time left till 2013 elections could be an opportunity
for the country to address the political problems, identify
issues and to work together to complete the reform process.

The President also stressed on the need to resolve the
existing political rifts and to find a way forward.

In this regard, he said, he hoped that his proposition
would bring an end to the long-standing divisions that had
existed in the country.

Nasheed, who resigned last week, has been demanding snap
polls. The current regime, headed by his former deputy Hassan
has said that elections would be held as per schedule in
November 2013.

Hassan`s letter also came ahead of a proposed "grand"
rally by the MDP as a show of strength.

Meanwhile, a local media report said the Maldivian armed
forces held a walk this morning "to display the camaraderie
and unity amongst them."

A large number of officers of the Maldives National
Defence Force (MNDF) took part in the walk, chanting national
slogans and waving the national flag.

Prior to the commencement of the walk, the officers had
gathered at the Republic Square and renewed their oath.

The purpose of the event was to show that the forces
would not be afraid to lay down their lives to protect and
defend the nation and religion against external enemies and
threats, a spokesperson of the MNDF was quoted as saying by
Haveeru newspaper in its online edition.