President Mohamed Waheed has condemned the overthrow of Egyptian leader Mohamed Morsi by the military, but emphasised that the event that brought him to power in February 2012 was “different”.
Morsi, President Waheed informed local newspaper Haveeru, was “a little stubborn” in his oppression of opposition views and had “failed to allow space for others”.
“There are similarities in what happened in Egypt and Maldives. The difference is that the military didn’t bring the change in Maldives. The change was brought because he [Nasheed] resigned on his own,” Waheed declared.
Former President Nasheed resigned on public television on February 7, 2012, amid a mutiny by elements of the police and military, following the storming of the state broadcaster.
Demonstrators who took to the streets the following day were met with a brutal police crackdown filmed by international media, and condemned by international groups such as Amnesty.
President Waheed’s new ‘unity government’ meanwhile replaced the entirety of Nasheed’s cabinet with key figures in the former 30 year dictatorship of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, ousted in 2008.
“There is a huge difference in Egypt because the military took over before the president resigned. According to our constitution, when the president resigns the vice president has to be sworn in. That was what happened in the Maldives,” Waheed emphasised.
“In the Maldives, the leader resigned because things became unbearable. In Egypt, the military took over because things became unbearable. It’s a totally different scenario,” he added.
“We’re seeing a very clear military coup in Egypt. In order to shield the truth, unrest was incited here [Maldives] under the false pretext of a military coup. That has been proven now,” he said.
Former Maldives’ President Mohamed Nasheed likewise condemned the ousting of Egypt’s first democratically-elected president by the military, and called on the international community not to give the new regime legitimacy.
“The world should not kid itself into believing that this coup hasn’t derailed Egypt’s fledgling democracy,” Nasheed said.
“Having experienced a coup myself, I understand how important it is for fresh presidential elections to be held quickly and for democracy to be restored. There is only one legitimate way to remove a democratically-elected leader and that is through the ballot box, not through the mob or the military,” Nasheed said.
“If leaders are unpopular, the people have an opportunity to remove them peacefully through elections.
Morsi was deposed yesterday at the conclusion of a 48 hour ultimatium issued by the Egyptian military.
The military entered the country’s fractious political fray after millions of Egyptians took to the streets to protest against Morsi and his Islamist party, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The military has taken Morsi into custody and issued arrest warrants for 300 members of his party, as well as closing down its television stations and other support bases.
The head of the Supreme Court, Adli Mansour, was sworn in as interim head of state.
The US, which contributes significantly to the Egyptian military, has expressed “deep concern” about Morsi’s ouster, and called for review of its aid to the country.
“We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove [President Morsi] and suspend the Egyptian constitution. I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government,” said US President Barack Obama in a statement.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague meanwhile said “political realities” required the UK to recognise the new Egyptian adminstration, claiming that the country “recognises states not governments”.
“It’s a popular intervention, there’s no doubt about that. We have to recognise the enormous dissatisfaction in Egypt with what the president had done and the conduct of the government over past year,” Hague said.
At the same time, “We don’t support military intervention as a way to resolve disputes in a democratic system. If one president can be deposed by the military then of course another one can be in the future. That’s a dangerous thing,” he added.
Massive protests in Egypt triggered military ultimatium