Maldives' 2nd largest party withdraws from talks
Male: Angry over the disruption of Parliament
by lawmakers of Mohamed Nasheed's party, Maldives' second
largest political bloc DRP has withdrawn from the all-party
talks, dealing a blow to efforts to reconcile the country's
fractured political atmosphere.
The Parliament witnessed unruly scenes yesterday as
lawmakers of former president Nasheed's MDP blocked Speaker
Abdulla Shahid from entering the chamber and prevented
President Mohamed Waheed from delivering the opening address.
Ahmed Mohamed, the present Minister of Economic
Development, and deputy leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge
Party (DRP), who is representing the party in the all-party
parleys told reporters last night that they are withdrawing
from the reconciliation talks.
He said the party, which has the second largest number of
MPs in the Majlis after the MDP, will not join the talks
until the Majlis is allowed to function.
Pro-government political parties blamed the Speaker for
not acting tough on the agitating lawmakers, and not using his
powers to order the removal of the unruly members.
After a chaotic day at the parliament during which the
President kept waiting for the opportunity to deliver his
maiden address, the Speaker cancelled the session last night.
Reacting to calls for the use of force to remove the
disruption-causing lawmakers, he said the existence of
military troops in the Parliament chamber was "not favourable
for this infant democracy", and cited this as a reason for
postponing the day's session.
The Maldives has witnessed much upheaval since last month
when Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected
leader, was ousted in what he claimed was a coup.
Under an India-brokered deal, the new President agreed to
hold early elections, and all parties agreed to enter talks to
chart out a roadmap for the future.
As the Majlis witnessed much acrimony, protests and
violent clashes also erupted on the streets yesterday.
Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai was in the Maldives till
Wednesday to facilitate the talks.