The Commonwealth has proposed a revised composition for the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) into the circumstances surrounding February’s controversial transfer of power, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has claimed.
The MDP claimed the revised composition would include a further two representatives chosen by ousted President Mohamed Nasheed, and a experienced foreign judge provided by the Commonwealth, in addition to the existing three members appointed by President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan.
MDP MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor told media gathered on the steps of the Velanaage office building that following talks with Commonwealth Special Envoy Sir Donald McKinnon, the MDP expected the solution to be agreeable to all parties concerned.
“The people we are accusing of overthrowing the government in a coup d’état can’t be the same as the people investigating it,” Ghafoor said.
In its last statement in mid-April, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) challenged the independence of the commission as constituted by Dr Waheed, and gave the government a four week deadline to change it or face “further and stronger measures”.
Ghafoor noted that a delegation of three CMAG ministers who arrived shortly after February 7 described their investigation as inconclusive, and called for early elections.
“The government has said it will only hold early elections if it was proven to be a coup,” Ghafoor said. “We agreed, because we were ones who were desposed, so we were sure it was a coup.”
The announcement would “severely impact” the all party talks, Ghafoor noted, which the MDP has maintained are a “farce” after government-aligned parties challenged the legitimacy of the MDP’s appointed representatives.
“The [governing] coalition party representatives are not very united. They agree on their own legitimacy, but not on policy. They don’t have consistent positions,” he observed.
Ghafoor said under the proposed reconstitution of the commission, the deadline for the findings would be the end of June.
The proposed solution was “in the spirit of the CMAG [statements],” Ghafoor said. “I think today is a good day. If the investigation goes ahead as per the Commonwealth’s requirements, then we don’t see a problem. I’m confident we will soon be arresting Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz.”
The Commonwealth has not yet issued a formal statement on the proposal, however CMAG is expect to release one this week.
President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza said that government representatives in the talks would make a statement after they had concluded, as there was no final agreement yet to disclose to the media.
“The position of the government is that we have always been open to Commonwealth assistance,” he said.
The Press Trust of India (PTI) meanwhile reported President Mohamed Waheed as saying he was “terribly disappointed” with the Commonwealth, but was not in favour of leaving it.
“I don’t support the position that some people in Maldives have which is to withdraw from the Commonwealth. I don’t think that is the way to go. I think we need to be engaged,” Waheed told PTI.
Accusing the Commonwealth of “influencing” the national inquiry commission, Waheed suggested he was willing to accept the body’s terms.
“We have nothing to hide, I have nothing to hide. Therefore, we have agreed that we will agree on what is acceptable to Commonwealth and possibly an additional member on the panel,” PTI reported Waheed as saying.