Maldives president rejects early elections

Maldives President Dr. Mohamed Waheed on Friday rejected calls to hold early Presidential elections this year.

Addressing the media following the end of a short official visit to Sri Lanka, Waheed said that elections can only be held next year, most likely in July.

He said that the government cannot decide on when to hold an election as that task is in the hands of the independent elections commission.

However he said it will be premature to have elections before the end of this year, a demand being made by the Maldivian opposition Maldives Democratic Party (MDP).

“I don’t think it will be possible to hold Presidential elections before the end of this year,” President Waheed insisted.

The MDP has been demanding early elections amidst claims that former President and MDP leader Mohammad Nasheed was forced to resign under threat in February this year in order to pave the way for Waheed, who was then Vice President, to take over.

“The Maldives Human Rights Commission has said that Nasheed’s life was never threatened,” President Waheed however said.

Asked if he will contest the election next year Waheed said he has still not decided and is contemplating his move.

A Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) appointed to look at the transfer of power in the Maldives in February is due to release its findings next week.

President Waheed, at Friday’s press briefing, called for an all party meeting of political parties to meet once the report is made public, to decide on the way forward for the Maldives.

However Waheed said he will not “throw in the towel” in the event the commission finds that Nasheed was forced to resign. President Waheed said that he will then seek legal advice and act accordingly.

President Waheed noted that the commission report will be key and hopes all political parties will accept the outcome. (Xinhua)