Elections and “judicial interference” among key topics in president’s inaugural address

Pursuing parliamentary-mandated early elections and avoiding interfering with the country’s judiciary are among a number of social and economic commitments outlined in President Waheed’s first state of the nation address.

In a heated Majlis session that took place yesterday, Waheed was finally able to deliver his constitutionally-mandated address to open parliament after several unsuccessful attempts.

However, he was still forced to give the speech amidst loud heckling and vociferous protests from within the Majlis chamber by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters.

The MDP protests were designed to stymie parliamentary functions until a date was set for early elections amidst concerns over the legitimacy of the present government. These protests were condemned yesterday by Commonwealth Special Envoy Sir Donald McKinnon, whose organisation has backed early election calls.

Despite the interruptions, an unofficial transcript of the address can be found on the President’s Office website here.

The speech itself outlines some of the key policies that Waheed will hope to perform in his capacity as president.


These policies include measures for taxation, international relations and plans to “empower” the independence of institutions like the Majlis and the country’s judiciary by not “interfering” with their work.

Previous attempts to bring reforms to the Maldives courts, at least in line with certain international judicial standards, have proved a controversial issue in the recent political upheavals that saw former President Mohamed Nasheed “resign” from office in a move later alleged to be the result of a “coup d’etat.”

However, President Waheed used his speech to commit himself to constitutional rule, despite the “coup” allegations surrounding his rise to the country’s top office.

“My highest priority is to perform the duties of the president in line with the constitution and laws of the country,” read Waheed’s speech. “I assure you that I will not take any action that goes against the constitution or law. Neither will I interfere with the work of the Judiciary.”

Speaking to Minivan News today, President Waheed’s spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza said that the new government hoped to “strengthen” independent institutions like the parliament and the courts.

Riza claimed that over past three years, the executive branch under former President Mohamed Nasheed was often involving themselves in parliamentary and judicial affairs that were supposed to function independently as separate bodies under the constitution.

“We want to empower institutions not interfere with the decision they are taking,” the spokesperson said. “The president will give all the help he can to parliament. For instance on March 1, [a parliamentary session abandoned owing to anti-government protests in the chamber] President Waheed could have held the Majlis session with military officers to support him. Nasheed had done this in 2010 and 2011, but he chose not to. Even when he was being insulted.”

Beyond his own bodyguards, Riza said that President Waheed would not have any other external military forces in the Majlis.

Judicial interference

Amidst concerns over the independence and ethics of the nation’s judiciary by a former president-appointed member of national court watchdog, the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) as well as international bodies like the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the EU, the conduct of judges became a major issue of the Nasheed presidency.

Upon eventually coming under international condemnation for the arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed, Mohamed Nasheed’s government then requested assistance from the international community to reform the judiciary over claims that national security was otherwise threatened.

Although Nasheed is no longer in office, Riza stated that the new government would continue to work with organisations and legal teams from the commonwealth and the EU on judicial reform and the proposed all-party roadmap talks.

“The president is liberal enough to take advice on these issues.”

Referring to providing early elections, one of the key aims of MDP protesters that have attempted to stop the president from giving his speech at the Majlis, Waheed said that if that if a presidential vote was “required” at an earlier date, he would begin work on constitutional reforms to support it.

“I will do everything in my power to bring together all the political leaders, to hold discussions on the matter,” he said.

Riza said that the use of the term “required” related to a mandate from parliament to hold fresh elections, though he stressed constitutional reforms were vital in ensuring that any leader elected in early polls would have a full constitutionally-mandated term of five years.

“If parties are not willing to have two elections in 18 months, clauses need to be amended and the legal mandate to do this can only be through parliament,” he said.

International relations

In regards to diplomatic relations, President Waheed said that his government aimed to protect the Maldives’ sovereignty and Islamic identity, whilst collaborating with foreign governments in areas such as preventing terrorism, piracy and arms smuggling.

“The government will accord a high priority to strengthen relations with countries that respect our sovereignty and are concerned about our national well-being,” the president stated. “One of the key objectives of our foreign policy is to secure foreign aid for economic and social development.”

In addressing what the comments could mean for the country’s existing relationships with international partners, particularly in regards to the previous government’s decision to open diplomatic relations with Israel, Riza said it was too early to tell at present.

“Our position is being reviewed right now on this. The foreign Minister is working on what line to take,”

The country’s relationship with Israel under Mohamed Nasheed was deeply unpopular among some sections of the public, who called for the government to withdraw plans to allow Israeli airliners to bring tourists to the country. Some political parties at the time alleged that the Nasheed government itself held a “zionist agenda”.

Among other key points raised within the speech transcript were calls for no one individual in the country to endanger the country to protect the interests of a “few”.

“Political stakeholders should work to ensure that Maldives is free from political turmoil and that citizens live without fear,” read the statement.

Addressing the number of violent clashes that have taken place between security forces and civilians since he came to power last month, Dr Waheed said there were significant costs to be recovered.

“State buildings were burned down and destroyed as a result of these unlawful acts,” the address read. “In Addu City and Huvadhoo Atoll, which were among the most affected areas, the cost of destruction to Island Councils, buildings under the care of these councils, homes of citizens, and police stations is currently estimated at more than Rf 180m.

In considering the country’s religious heritage, the president reiterated the Maldives’ status as a 100 per cent Muslim nation that did not afford for other religions to be practiced.

“The government will work to revive the spirit and strengthen the principles of Islamic faith among the people,” the president stated.

Addressing economic factors, Waheed stressed that the country was currently undergoing economic vulnerability with a deficit between state expenditure and state income said to currently amount to slightly over Rf3bn (US$200m)

“Estimates for 2012 indicate that the debt component of the current account in our Balance of Payments will increase by 11 per cent as compared to 2011,” stated the president. “With respect to GDP, debt of our current account will go up to 28 per cent. This figure in 2011 was 26 per cent. The main reason for this rise is the expectation that imports will increase, resulting in an increase in expenditure for these imports.”

Riza said that the government was not willing to increase the state budget further and would look to find methods to “live within in its own means.” In order to try and balance its books, the government said it was looking into further financial reforms with the aid of the private sector.

While not presently wishing to review taxation reforms, Riza stressed that the government would not be looking to increase the current 3.5 percent rate tourism Goods and Services Tax (GST) introduced last year as had been suggested by the Nasheed government.

In areas of trade, the president said he would look to strengthen opportunities for small and medium enterprises, while also trying obtain “reasonable” prices for a Maldives fisherman’s catch.

“Work is in progress to obtain the Marine Stewardship Council’s Certificate which will enable Maldivian fishermen to get a better price for fish caught through the pole-and-line method,” Waheed said. “Last year, a number of training programmes have been conducted with the aim of increasing the skills of farmers and achieve greater productivity in our agriculture industry. A special school is to be established in Laamu Atoll to conduct agricultural research and training.”


As the country’s foremost source of income, President Waheed claimed that the current government had already achieved a number of positive results regarding tourism. He claimed that counter measures against travel advisories issued in some major tourism markets along with potentially unfavourable headlines were one such example.

“I plan to form a Tourism Advisory Board to determine policy directions for tourism and address the challenges currently faced by the tourism industry,”

Like his predecessor, the new president pledged to be outspoken internationally in regards to the plight small nations faced from the potentially destructive impacts of climate change.

“The government will encourage the voice of small island nations to be heard in the global arena with regard to climate change,” added the president. “The Maldives will always participate in voicing out concerns of small island nations”

Issues relating to housing, sanitation and health were also mentioned in the speech transcript.


32 thoughts on “Elections and “judicial interference” among key topics in president’s inaugural address”

  1. Oh so this was what was in that famous address. Doubt anyone heard anything, but atleast the self proclaimed President got to say the address to himself, he claims he had been preparing all his life for that moment. He tweeted that, his only way of communicating these days.

  2. There should be no place in the governance of this country for someone who came to power through a Coup.

  3. Mr. President doesn’t have to take advantage from the infamous power transition. There are people who can read and understand your motive. Here you can’t dream to project you as Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela. We have no issues on ideological, racial or any other forms of socially discriminatory atmosphere. If you are genuine, just simply resign from that seat. The only issue we have here is that there is question of lawfulness in you holding that seat. The half of the people doesn’t see you as a legitimate president and you can’t prove it unless you get the verdict of people. You have gone to that position under very extra ordinary circumstance and you know it. So why you don’t pave the way for people to solve their problem on the ballot box and show those crazy police that we don’t need them to play monkey business here. We want democracy to flourish here and leave the people to elect their rulers. These police are there to protect people’s decision and they are paid for that. You cannot fool those who are against you, and you can’t convince them that you are anything better by any constructive means, No point acting as peace maker when the threat to peace is yourself.

  4. He could have presented this in a series of tweets rather than making such a big fuss earlier on. 'Dr' Hassan Saeed may see him as maldivian 'brave heart' at one moment and the next he would depict him as the'weekest link'.
    It is high time for moving a no confidence motion against 'what ever you call it' Waheed. Show your guts MDPians!

  5. The election date, my dear friends, is July 2013.
    Make sure you prepare well for this date.

  6. “The government will work to revive the spirit and strengthen the principles of Islamic faith among the people,” the president stated.

    Please don't tell me that I will be a Muslim. I haven't been practicing for many years and I would actually like to openly show and practice my true faith.

  7. the coup led by gasim bandos deen champaa and voyages should be investigated. we cant afford this to happen to maldives

  8. Whether anyone likes it or not judicial reform needs to be top of that agenda. That's what is most urgent if we are talking about the "law of the land". Without law there is no respect. And the legal system was rotten to the core with a corrupt judge at the top. This at the moment is a lawless land where illegitimate leaders parade as legitimate.The unpleasant heckling during Majlis had to take place because Mr Waheed should not be acknowledged as a President since he came to power through illegitimate means. This was one of the few means of voicing protest since the more civilised means have been perverted or squashed by a bunch of self interested crooks who twist logic and law to suit them. Their 30 year old track record is pitiful. They came to power just as the petrodollar funded aid and tourism money rolled in and they swiftly made sure that all the groundwork done during President Nasir's regime was not acknowledged.President Nasir may have been a dictator in many people's eyes, but he had a fierce work ethic that was totally focused on dragging the Maldives into the 20th century.When the airport runway was first built, people from everywhere came to help dig and reclaim the land, it was that basic.People worked day and night to build this country. Because of the brainwashing by the Gayoom dictatorshiop there are many Maldivians who are not aware of the true history of work and sacrifice behind the Maldives we know today. They have been fed so much whitewash and propaganda by the 30 year old dictatorship that their view is totally distorted. This regime has always spent its time on manipulating the media and holding onto power through coercion, bribery and fear - and these qualities are so obvious again today. The brainwashing has begun again, brutality and sheer greed for power cloaked as piety and rectitude. But many can now see through the invisibility cloak. Because they have had a glimpse of what its like to build a nation, instead of just feathering their own nests. What is at stake here is our moral compass as well as our national pride.There was a re-awakening of both in the last 3 years, along with the difficulties that any transition to democracy would pose - and this spirit was also glimpsed during the peaceful protests at Raalhugandu Surf Point. These qualities - a moral compass, cultural pride, and importantly, our unique sense of humour, are what will sustain us as a nation in the end.The Maldives is a country of survivors and we will survive. Hopefully our soul will too, if most of us choose that path.


  10. Truely Anni (Nasheed) is held captive of Mariya and Rekko!! I heard its the bottles that does the trick that was found in Rekko's car!!

  11. I guess in 6 weeks this mad man has arrested more than 2500 people. He is way ahead of the dictator Gayoom. The police had tortured so many people and the people are going to attack the police everyday on Male streets.

  12. @ President Waheed:
    I just heard the new President on BBC Hardtalk saying that he would never use Islam as a political tool to attack Nasheed. I also just saw a translation of his first public speech claiming that we will fight to the death to defend Islam and I have since learnt of the 23rd December "Embrace Islam protest". What is clear to the international audience and is now emerging to the savvy reporters overseas, is that the face and language Waheed presents internationally is completely different to the one at home. This is a result of being over prepared and pre-wired by his team who are clearly running the show. There is no doubt about it that if you translate the Maldivian speeches and explain this to the international media, he proves himself to be a hypocrite, puppet and a guilty part of this coup d'tat from the previous dictatorship. The BBC spotted this and caught him out.

    Finally, Stephen Sakur the BBC reporter did an excellent job to get Waheed to reluctantly agree to two things =

    1) That the independent inquiry to investigate what happened with the events and the "alleged coup" should and will have an impartial independent senior foreigner actually on the team.

    2) He will agree to an early election this year.

    I post these comments here because the Maldivians need to know what Waheed is saying and agreeing to the rest of the world. Clearly, Waheed will say something very different indeed to the Maldivian nation - but this is on the record now with the BBC.

  13. @ Reform
    You need your head read, seriously. You are a bitter little man. The first thing we are going to do when we get back is let Reeko and Maria do as they please with you. You are clearly hiding something!!!

  14. Waheed says he will not take any action that is against the constitution or law. Some of the women who were taken into police custody from the protests on the day that the parliament opened, WERE MADE TO TAKE OFF EVERY BIT OF CLOTHING on themselves and made to do squats so many times, by the police that some of them have damaged their anal areas. Waheed has to take final responsibility for such atrocities by his police.

  15. Waheed, it is one thing to read out a statement on top of your voice and it would be another thing to actually implement! I don't see that happening!

  16. @ Reform MDP NOW : ooooooh....yet again the same retort from you. Why don't you let us know why YOU consider Reeko moosa and Mariya bad?? i'm seriously curious now

  17. When one is hell bent on becoming the president at any cost, it takes to treason if necessary and that heavily disguised as coincidential that ultimately belied the plot being so ill-prepared for the coup. Presidential address my foot

  18. President Waheed you are great leader and this the klind of leader we need to go forward. Let terrorist Nasheed rot aloang with his followers.

  19. amid the chaos and sudden demise of the people's power, the internation community should not, never ever, condone the refusal of this regime for early elections as they are so conscious of the treason and betrayal they had committed. According to the plan it was soldiers to mutiny first on the excuse of order arrest the judge. They were so greedy for power that under the same pretext it happened to be the police who mutied first being oblivious that arrest order was issued to MNDF.

    the so called masterminds have become nasty minds for life, clealy circumventing the constitution. If the regnation is fine what about the mutiny under laws of police and MNDF. What about the demand under their respective laws for the Elected Commander in Chief to resign. People who need more cash are rather mindless in interpreting the laws of the country to their favour that are crytal clear even to school children. This is a clear case of money calling the shots and conscience held to ransom through sponsored media and state instututions. How could Anni bribe the international community and majority of Maldivians. It is simply commonsense that cannot be bribed for one's way through. Commonsense shows on whose side the truth is. For these guys with Anni around, an election in 2013 also won't be feasible because the conditions would not be right for them to win it since every passing day people are gathering more facts about the brutality by the unified thugs - unified only to save their necks. They are yet to discover how revengeful history is and how inevitable it would be. the countdown is on. take care. Since soldiers and policeman should wait for the right opportinity bail the country out.

  20. #DrWaheedH,
    "Last night was good Ilham, but I could not sleep that well, how about yOu, did you enjoy last night"

  21. Dr. B. Waheed wife is a boozer too, in their own words they socialize together.

  22. I have seen Waheed drinking alcohol too - I was in the room at the time and I have a photo of this too (love iphones). He does call himself "David" when in the US - and we all know that he likes to reacts to whatever the audience he is in & blend in! Poor little hypocriye.

  23. Question? =

    Do you think that the new Deputy Minister of Tourism frequents whore houses that serve "absolutely everything" including alcohol when working abroad?? EMBRACE ISLAM??

    I will give you two guesses! Answers on a postcard to MOTAC - Velaanaage, Male.

  24. 'Reform MDP' is the granny of Mariyaa and Reeko hehe 🙂

  25. Look David Waheed I feel sorry that Anni belittled and degraded your obvious talents by shunning you and by rejecting, ignoring you, that obviously hurt and believe it or not I feel for you. But, sadly, you lost the opportunity to prove how big hearted and wise minded you really are by using your new found power over Anni to take subtle little pot shots at him, by blaming all this violence on him (as if the Maldives never knew violence before he became a man. ) Waheed I never met you, but heaps of ppl have told me that you are a really wise, kind person, I tend to believe it please, please please prove me correct, not for me, but for your ppl, and confront the real wrongs in Maldives by promoting, creating an education system that teaches the non-violent discourse in Islam, so that, violence does not occur, Waheed fricking PLEASE forgive Anni, be bigger than that, stop taking concealed pot shots at him, if he is as dictatorial as you think he is, rise above him by being merciful to him, and to all Maldivians, call for restraint, condemn thiose who used violence in the MNDF and just make the country safe, that is what you must do!

  26. @Toxic T: "These qualities – a moral compass, cultural pride, and importantly, our unique sense of humour, are what will sustain us as a nation in the end...."

    That is awesome stuff!!! Love it love it!

    Maldivians always have a good laugh talking politics, (and sometimes when talking religion also) it is the key to rising above the absurdity and tyranny of it all, by not being crushed by it mentally through turning it into a joke!!! THAT is AMAZING respect the heck out of it! Humour is the Stoicism of the Dhivehin!

  27. @A tourist on Wed, 21st Mar 2012 2:24 AM

    As a citizen of Maldives, I thank you. Please do one more thing for us. Go to Tripadvisor.com, write a review of whichever resort you stayed at and then tell fellow travelers to avoid Villa Hotels, explaining the reasons why. Also tell them to pass the message on.

  28. If Dr Waheed were so ambitious of following the rules of the Constitution and law to the letter, he must resign immediately for he is in power because of a military coup sponsored by the opposition businessmen. No matter how lawful he tries to be in his acts as president the unconstitutionality and illegitimacy of how he came to power cannot change. It will remain unconstitutional and illegitimate.

    He repeats the words that he would not interfere with the judiciary and other independent institutions because the military and policemen in mutiny claim they turned against Nasheed as he refused to assure them he would not make unlawful orders on them as they demanded. It's not out of love to be law-abiding. If this were the case, he would not have accepted to succeed as president because it was either a coup or an invalid resignation that was taken as the excuse to overthrow the government of his own boss.

  29. By the way one may wonder why Dr Waheed made such a hassle of the presidential statement that Clause 84 of the Constitution says must be made at the opening session of the Parliament.

    Actually, it was one of the many things that is prescribed in the Constitution but ignored. No one bothers about this and the Parliament is functioning and everything else seems normal. Why then was the presidential statement so important to the military, the police, the government and the politicians?

    After all, it was not the statement that means the beginning of parliamentary sessions for the year. It was only a constitutional recommendation, if you like, for Parliament to be informed of the affairs of government and of its policies. He need not do so in person; he could have sent a representative of his for he was literally unable to do so himself.

  30. Such fuss over having a drink. As most Maldivians when visiting overseas like to have a dram and most Arabs what is the issue? One needs to see the export value to Saudi from Scotland (naturally not official) What grits me is the fact that they all deny such activity. Profit gained by the few licensed holders allowed to import alcohol to the Maldives is enormous. I wonder if they are followers of the faith? One I have personally met is a rampant alcoholic. A visit to a place of relaxation and entertainment is also on the agenda for most, no problem there either as long as all agree to pay the going rate. Casinos are also much in vogue in Colombo doing a roaring trade. allow the drink so the drug barons will stop ruining your youth
    Wake up to reality and move on this is the 21 century, look at Turkey going forward in leaps and bounds with a secular attitude, Maldives could do a lot better.


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