Comment: Maldives’ solution lies on the negotiation table

As I have written previously, the events that unfolded on February 7, 2012, were surely among the darkest and most regrettable in Maldivian history.

Whether we like it or not, the government is now in the hands of elements that belonged to the three decade-long authoritarian rule of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. President Waheed may be the face of this government, but however you look into it, you’ll see that he has neither the say nor the control of a president as outlined under the Maldivian constitution.

Instead, the likes of Yaameen (half brother of former President Gayoom), Gasim Ibrahim and Dr Hassan Saeed have assumed control of what was meant to be a government working to implement the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) manifesto, a document which the majority of the people had voted for in the presidential elections of 2008.

Regardless of the names on the ballot papers that helped secure the election for the MDP, the Maldivian people voted for the policy plans of the winning candidate, not for the face of the candidate or his running mate. This is a general political fact that revolves around any presidential election.

However, today what we see from President Waheed and his team is that they are determined to defy this fact. Every podium, every platform that Waheed’s government step onto, they keep on proclaiming that people had voted in the current president exactly the same way as they had for Nasheed, his deposed predecessor. All this, because Waheed’s name was on the ballot paper as Nasheed’s running mate.
In theory, this assumption by Waheed’s team may be partly correct. However, in practice, it is proven wrong by the results of the parliamentary and council elections that followed the MDP coming to power in 2008.

Waheed’s Gaumee Iththihaadh Party, which barely has two thousand or so members, had fielded candidates personally endorsed by him. Take for example, Ahmed Thaufeeq (Topy) – the current political advisor of Dr Waheed – who failed to secure a winning margin in both parliamentary and local council elections. These figures did not get elected to the parliament and only won a single seat in an island council out of more than a thousand seats contested across the country.

If Waheed had some semblance of political recognition, his party would have at least have an MP or two to sincerely count on in order to defend himself in parliament.  Instead he finds himself kneeling down to those that were practically the “enemies” of the ordinary people.
Regardless of the potential turmoil inside the top office of this country, hopes for an early election lie in compromise and negotiation on all sides.

Parliament has to convene, and a constitutional amendment seems to be the only viable path out of the two options available  for securing an early presidential election.

The second option is that Waheed resign on an agreed date and that Parliamentary Speaker Abdullah Shahid then take over the office as the de-facto President. This option has little or no chance of success given the fact that Waheed is steadfast in retaining his position.

Waheed’s concupiscence and appetite to remain in power has seemingly blinded him from seeing the large masses of people opposing him and his regime.  A regime opponents perceive to be filled with those heavily involved in bringing down the country’s first democratically elected president.

They have been continuously trying to spin the democracy protests in the false direction by labelling protesters as being among the ‘black sheep’ of society.

This is thanks in part to their very own TV stations and the use of public broadcasting services to promote their cause. Thus, the impact of civil disobedience and mass peaceful demonstrations would have a hard time reaching the rationale of Waheed or his government.
That leaves out the option of Waheed’s voluntary resignation for the sake of the people. Personally, I firmly believe that amending the constitution, the supreme set of rules which governs the state of the Maldives, is morally wrong just to find a quick political fix when there is no legal issues surrounding it. The way I see it, the purpose of having a powerful entrenchment mechanism over a constitution is to ensure that it cannot be changed or manipulated when a certain sect of the people wishes to do so.

But with Waheed’s hesitance to resign, early elections can only happen via a constitutional amendment.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), being at the forefront of calls to hold an early election, should go to the negotiation table with President Waheed in order to engage in a diplomatic dialogue that may pave way for a possible amendment of the constitution and early elections.

No matter how unethical it may seem, politically speaking, “cutting a deal with the devil” seems to be the only way forward in the current situation for the MDP – no matter how much they may detest the option.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


12 thoughts on “Comment: Maldives’ solution lies on the negotiation table”

  1. Why are you over looking the option of Waheed being impeached, by that logic his appointed VP too. This is also one way early elections can take place without constitutional amendment

  2. @Shahid: This is not journalism but an opinion piece. A smattering of big words like "concupiscence" can't hide the obvious typos like "promotd" which is used in the wrong tense in the first place. This is a very amateur piece of writing from a child who knows nothing about politics let alone the law.

    This boy is well known in the Maldivian community. The fact that his youth led him to develop intense anger at the loss of an opportunity and drove him straight into the arms of the MDP which funds the development of his career while providing him unfair opportunities (Commonwealth Youth Parliament) that would have gone to the more deserving is documented by himself.

    Now I didn't want to personally attack a babe in the woods like this Naahee but enough is enough. We have qualified individuals in this country who can assess and analyze the situation yet Nasheed insists on playing pied piper to these hapless kids who have false delusions of being what they would take 20 more years to become.

    Minivan has once more reduced itself to the status of a propaganda paper by letting go of any semblance of balance. The opinion pieces printed on Minivan are written mostly by members of the MDP and more often than not by inexperienced youth. The articles show a bias that would put DhiTV to shame.

    Naahee, my advice to you lad is work. Work for a living. Work for your development. Learn and grow. This whole dream of becoming a career politician will require you to work as well. So don't jump at every opportunity. Measure your response to everything and make informed choices. If you wish to become a politician then first learn to rise above propaganda and stop engaging in useless pursuits. Best of luck.

  3. @Mohamed Naahee (Author).
    This a poor quality article! It lacks substance and an argument.
    THE HEADING SHOULD BE "MDP's solution lies on the negotiation table"!!! Why? The whole country knows that MDP and some other political parties such as PPM relies on street thugs (which sometimes MDP calls as activists) and crime funders (like Mariya) and alcoholics like Jaa (Rekko Moosa's son in law)!! MDP NEVER WANTS TO COME TO NEGOTIATION TABLE NOR DOES PPM!!! This country is distroyed by MDP (cronies who controls it like Mariya) and PPM! Other political parties are just puppet parties of these two criminal gangster parties!! MDP is in the brink of fall as the corruption, drug, alcohol, prostitution, nepotism and other dangerious virus has reached to the core faster than it did to Gayoom's family party PPM!! May God save this country from these cronies! REFORM MDP NOW NOW NOW!!!

  4. One of the main purposes of a coup is to buy time to entrench themselves,..usually done in the guise of such talks must be viewed with suspicion in that how much credence is being given to actually holding early elections...

  5. First, the truth of the matter is that Dr Waheed or his party is not popular enough to claim a politician or political party respectively.

    Second, the present regime was set up by the military after a coup under the circumstances in which Nasheed's government was overthrown on February 7. The military and the regime claim that Nasheed resigned whereupon the constitution allows the Vice President to succeed him. Just as the constitution requires this it requires the resignation to be voluntary in what it says that the President may resign if he wants to, not if he has no choice. It is obvious, therefore, the present regime is illegitimate and a snap election is necessary to legitimatise the government.

    Third, since this regime is illegitimate it does not possess the mandate to make any legislative proposals to the Parliament, not least, to amend the constitution. Though Parliament is the agency that makes laws it is the government that calls for them, so it is of utmost importance that the government is legitimate for it to propose any constitutional amendment.

    Fourth, therefore, the first and foremost for the present regime is to set a date for an early presidential election so as to return a legitimate government to undertake all such legislative work including the amendment of the constitution to resolve the issue of a short term to give the new president a full term in office. Other legislation to be undertaken must make sure that there is no coup again by having the military off politics and the police off mutiny.

  6. @tsk tsk, your anonymity and the fear to hide your identity in a mere phrase speaks for itself. hahahah ! Though i'dont agree with what the author has written, i just cant stop but notice that u do have a personal grudge on the fella

  7. Maldives National Defence Force was loyal to Nasheed. They were even prepared to shoot at the demonstrators and at the disobedient police. President Nasheed did not allow MNDF to shoot at the demonstrators. This is by Nasheed's own public admission.In the absence of guns there was no way to protect Nasheed and hence the resignation. MNDF cannot now be accused of mutiny or even disobedience.

  8. Hi tsk tsk,

    Your hiatus from putting Minivan and Nasheed in their place led me to believe you became a Minister or what not, after the popular (90% to be precise) and successful peoples' uprising against the evilness that Nasheed is, surely there had to be a reward in it for you?

    "Nasheed insists on playing pied piper to these hapless kids who have false delusions of being what they would take 20 more years to become"

    You weren't counting on that were you? Surely you did not expect us to meekly accept the rule of your Plutocrats now did you?

    Lessons will be learn't, only an election will lend legitimacy to a government now, we have had a taste of a free election and a peoples govt. no going back now dude.

    Hold on longer, expect a disorganized revolution, money men will learn thing the hard way, a lesson for all.

  9. Well written and artiacle! I am now looking forward to more from this Author! @ Peasant you hit the nail right on the head! Waheed has failed to establish the legitimacy of his administration, so far. We have now for the first time elected a President by a direct vote and there certainly is not going back on that! I do not believe there is a need to amend the constitution before announcing and preparing for an early Presidential election. That would be required prior to holding the actual election. Ther would be no other solution except an election as i do not see how else to establish the legitimacy of Waheeds Administration! Perhaps someone with a legal or constitutional background could comment!


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