Maldives political talks strike breakthrough

Among its priorities are the demand of ousted president Mohamed Nasheed`s party to hold early election.

Male: The India-facilitated all-party talks in Maldives finally yielded a breakthrough, with the groups agreeing to focus on a six-point agenda, including the prospect of an early election, to find a resolution to the political crisis.

The agenda agreement was made after nine hectic meetings and several rounds of sparring, and among its priorities the demand of ousted president Mohamed Nasheed`s party to hold early election.

The All Party Talks coordinator, Ahmed Mujuthaba, said on Monday that the nine parties represented at the meeting held last evening agreed on the agenda arrangement, and will now meet again at the end of the month to take the matter forward.

The next round of meetings will be held from May 31 to June 2, plus the details of the meetings would be kept confidential.

The points of arrangement included an agreement to "discuss and find a way to solve the political unrest" in Maldives currently, and also work upon the current financial budget and its difficulties.

The all-party talks would also discuss over the coming days the steps that need to be taken to reform the country`s independent institutions, and the changes to be made to existing laws and the need to pass new laws.

Discussions on how the Constitution can be changed to suit the present situation, as well as deciding the election dates is also part of the agenda.

The all-party talks were part of an India-sponsored mechanism to broker a deal between all Maldivian parties after the February unrest that saw Nasheed being ousted from office and his deputy Mohamed Waheed taking over the president`s job.

Furthermore, the nine parties also agreed to proceed with the meetings among themselves without the involvement of other parties. Maldives at present has 15 political parties.

"The deadlock has now been broken. We informed that we had no reservations over the way the items of the agenda is set," said Maldivian Democratic party spokesperson, Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, who represented the party at yesterday`s meeting.
The All Party Talks had been initiated in February, but had been stalled after the pro-government political parties had failed to come to a consensus with MDP over the ordering of the agenda.

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