Male: Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed has accused his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed of “instigating” street protests by taking refuge in the Indian High Commission in Male, as he promised “free, fair and inclusive” multi-party election in the country in September.
Waheed said his government will do the utmost to promote democracy in the country. “I believe that it is in the national interest of Maldives to hold a free, fair and inclusive election this year in which all political parties are allowed to participate, including smaller political parties,” Waheed said.
He noted that the Maldives Election Commission has announced 7 September as the date for the next presidential election. He criticised Nasheed for taking refuge in the Indian High Commission last week after a court ordered his arrest.
45-year-old Nasheed, leader of Maldivian Democratic Party, took refuge in the Indian mission on 13 February to evade arrest warrant issued by a court in a case concerning the detention of chief judge of the criminal court during his presidency in January last year.
“I am dismayed that the former President Nasheed sought refuge in the Indian High Commission in Male when he was summoned to the court. The court order which required the Police to arrest Nasheed and have him appear before the court was due to his refusal to attend court hearing. It had expired at 1600 hours on the 13 February 2013, and there is no reason for him to remain in the High Commission and to instigate street violence, ” Waheed said.
He said the court’s decision has nothing to do with his government. “Upholding the rule of law means nobody is above the law. I would like to assure the people of Maldives that the law and order will be maintained,” the president said.
Nasheed became the first democratically elected president of the Indian Ocean archipelago in 2008. He resigned a year ago after weeks of public protests against the judge’s arrest. His deputy, Mohammed Waheed, succeeded him. Immediately after his resignation, Nasheed claimed that he was ousted in a coup, a claim was dismissed by an inquiry commission last year.