Former dictator Gayoom returns to Maldives

Former dictator Gayoom returns to Maldives Former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom returned to the country, opposing early polls and claimed he had no role in the change of government.

"We did that (resist the unlawful orders), but no, we did not do anything to overthrow the government by illegal means.

The rumours are false and baseless allegations" Gayoom told reporters at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport here last night.

Nasheed's party - Maldivian Democratic Party - has accused Gayoom of being the mastermind behind the "coup".

On the issue of early polls, Gayoom said that he does not support the idea of rushing in to an early election and said that the Presidential polls must be held every five years as scheduled, the Haveeru daily reported.

"If the elections are to be held in any other way, it should be if both the President and the Vice-President resign simultaneously, and their positions are vacated.

"But if for any reason the president resigns, his deputy must take over in accordance with the constitution until the end of his predecessor's term of office," he said.

Interestingly, Waheed had yesterday picked up two more Gayoom-era officials to fill up the crucial cabinet berths of Foreign Affairs and Finance.

With the new appointments, former loyalists of the Gayoom regime, that ruled Maldives for 30 years, now dominate Waheed's cabinet that also has the former dictator's daughter, Dhunya Maumoon as a State Minister for Foreign Affairs.

He also added that after Nasheed's resignation, his deputy Mohamed Waheed was sworn in as the new President constitutionally.

"Hence there is no room to even consider going for an election. Not to mention we have a republican system here in Maldives. In a republican system we vote for two candidates on a single ticket instead of one.

"The reason why a President and a vice-president are elected is to show that they have the peoples support. So if one of them resigns, the other elected person is there to take over.

"I believe that the constitution does not permit such an election to be held nor does the political situation here," Gayoom was quoted as saying by the daily.

Maumoon said that the political tension in the country can only be resolved by all the parties keeping their actions within the framework of constitutional laws and by allowing independent organisations to execute their responsibilities without external influence.

A lot of supporters had gathered at the Republic Square to welcome former President Maumoon back. Interestingly, unlike previously, Maumoon was taken to his residence in a Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) car and security had been elevated.