Having recognised the new regime in a hurry, India is in no position to change its stand, writes Dr. S. Chandrasekharan for the Eurasia Review.
Despite two visits by the Indian Foreign Secretary to Male to convince the new regime for early elections and an undertaking by President Waheed that he would, it looks that there will be no early elections.
With Gayoom having returned to the island, is should be known to everyone that President Waheed is not the master and the decisions are being taken by Gayoom and his followers who are all over in the new government.
Gayoom’s daughter Dunya who is the Minister of state for foreign affairs admitted to the Sunday times that her father would be working “behind the scenes” and playing an advisory role to the President.
This point that Gayoom would be calling the shots was mentioned by Nasheed also. He said “whether we like it or not- the government is now in the hands of the elements that belonged to the three decade long authoritarian rule of Gayoom. President Waheed may be the face of the government- but if you look into it, you will see that he has neither the say nor the control of a President as outlined under the Maldivian constitution.”
This is very much true. Soon after landing in Male, Gayoom ruled out early elections. In his latest speech on 16th April, he has brought in the issue of religion and the sovereignty of Maldives on those ( India included) who are insisting on early elections. He said that international calls for elections are driven by a “special motive” that poses a direct threat for the Maldives’ sovereignty and religious heritage.
His daughter Dunya Maumoon had also said earlier that until the country’s state institutions – the judiciary, the election commission and human rights commission are strengthened it would be impossible for a vote to be held. In other words, what she means is that the present regime is in no hurry to hold the next elections.
Others who are not in support of early elections have cited that the law and order situation is not conducive for early elections. Four elections were held in the last one week- two to Majlis and two the local councils and there were no incidents at all.
The fact of the matter is that early elections will not be held and Gayoom has said the last word.