Government claims all-party talks consensus as MDP maintains “early” election calls

The President’s Office has claimed all-party talks held last night at Bandos Island Resort and Spa concluded with senior representatives for the government and the nation’s political parties agreeing to move ahead through parliament to address the discussion’s key aims.

President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad told Minivan News that the all-party talks – the last of which, held in June, failed to reach a consensus on an agenda that included setting dates for early elections – saw representatives agreeing on revising the aims of the talks to reflect the findings of the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI).

However, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which continues to criticise the CNI findings – alleging they lack key witness testimonies and evidence – has today said it remained committed to pressing for early elections at the earliest possible date in line with calls from the European Union.

The comments were made after the CNI, charged with investigating the circumstances around the controversial transfer of power on February 7, concluded that the government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan came to office constitutionally.

The Commonwealth, which backed the CNI under a reformed mandate and composition, yesterday called for report’s outcome to be respected – a stance shared by the US, India and the UN.

Following the CNI’s conclusion yesterday, Masood claimed the talks, which were attended by President Waheed, MDP Chair and MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, “successfully” agreed to amend the aims of the talks. He added that these amended aims would now likely be addressed through the People’s Majlis rather than through continued external discussions.

Masood added that in light of the CNI’s findings, representatives at yesterday’s talks agreed on a new agenda, such as addressing legislative issues through parliament.  He contended that this work could potentially be dealt with through the formation of a special all-party parliamentary committee.

Speaking to Minivan News yesterday, DRP Leader Thasmeen said ahead of the talk that he believed the focus of discussions, which had previously outlined an agenda including potentially agreeing early elections for this year, “should now change”.

“There had previously been serious contention over the transfer of power. At this point we had been willing to discuss early elections. I think these questions have now been answered [with the CNI report]. It is now time for national reconciliation,” he said.

Thasmeen contended that the talks would likely no longer focus on agreeing a date for early elections, which President Waheed has previously said under the constitution can be scheduled for July 2013 at the earliest.

“I think it should be possible to move on and try finding common platforms for agreement,” he said at the time.

Both Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Interim Deputy Leader Umar Naseer and MDP Chair Manik – who were both representing their respective parties at the talks – were not responding to calls from Minivan News at the time of press.

MDP MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said today that in spite of the CNI outcome, early elections remained a “key” focus of the opposition party going forward.

According to the MDP, the Commonwealth had not yet announced a change in its policy of pressing for early elections to be held this year to address the current political stalemate in the country.

Ghafoor added that he had also been encouraged by comments made by President Waheed in local media to hold talks between the leaders of the country’s parliamentary parties and himself, discussions he contended that would be limited to five key Majlis representatives.

In outlining the future focus of the party’s plans, former President Mohamed Nasheed was on Friday expected to hold a conference at 4:00pm in Male’ at the Mookai Hotel on Meheli Goalhi.

Addressing the party’s conduct following the CNI report yesterday, the MDP claimed that it believed 60 people were arrested during yesterday’s demonstrations as a result of an ongoing special operation launched by police in attempts to reduce unrest in the capital and wider atolls.

According to Ghafoor, the party was itself concerned with the large number of officers wearing balaclavas as they patrolled the capital, making it impossible to identify them individually.

“They were singing at MDP protesters and mocking them to try and provoke the public,” he claimed. “I myself observed spontaneous protests yesterday that were not organised offcially by the party. These were people who walked out of our national conference meeting yesterday. This situation saw a large number of arrests late into the night.”

According to official police figures, 50 people had been arrested as of yesterday afternoon. Of these suspects, seven were female and one person was classed as a minor.

By midnight, authorities confirmed that a further 13 people had been taken into custody. All suspects were charged with obstructing police in performing their duties.

Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef today confirmed local news reports that police would be arresting any member of the public heard calling officers “traitors” or alleging they had played part in a “coup”.

Haneef did not clarify if any arrests had been made on these grounds at the time of press.

Police said earlier this week that they will provide full support and security services to the demonstrations held “peacefully and within the contours of laws”.


11 thoughts on “Government claims all-party talks consensus as MDP maintains “early” election calls”

  1. It's strange that Minivan news included nothing on the CNI's report stating certain news organisations had been politicised... hmmm wonder why that is?

  2. An aspiring liberal democracy is being scuttled with criminal intent - state institutions, judiciary and CONI are adding insult to injury to the state of the nation. There is more to all these than meets the eye.

  3. Moosa holds the key to MDPs future. If he is smart, he can use the leadership talks to shape the future of MDP.

    Other parties may have an incentive to help Moosa.

  4. I'm extremely pleased to see that MDP found a face-saving way accept the CoNI report. Now everyone has to move towards the all-party talks and ensure that the recommendations contained in the report are being implemented immediately.

    There really was no room for MDP to maneuver since the publication of the report. Even within the party itself, when the Commonwealth and UN endorsed the report that was the end of the line.

    In the face of domestic alienation we were overwhelmingly depending on the international community to apply pressure to the government. Since the internationally community has already endorsed the report, the only way forward for the MDP without looking stupid, was to accept the CoNI report with some reservations.

    There of course had to be reservations in line with Gahaa Saeed's concerns. Accepting the report unconditionally would have been political suicide for the MDP, even with the party faithful.

    I praise the party's leadership for the change in position. It is time for national reconciliation to begin.

  5. On 7th February, we the Maldivians have seen with our own eyes, the events that transpired and the brutality some sections of police and military inflicted to our own people whom they are sworn and paid to serve and protect. A report or even thousands of reports cannot erase our memories nor can change what we have seen and experienced. I applaud you Mr. President Nasheed; despite your deep reservations and clear injustice; for accepting the report for the greater good of the country and for accepting to work and negotiate with the very people who stole our democratic vote. I considered myself as an independent but I can tell you that my vote has been sealed and it will be a privilege to vote for you Mr. President Nasheed.

  6. Early elections? Why?

    Elections in 2013 is constitutional. So wait till then.

    MDP is not looking for elections, it wants Anni as the president.

    If it does not win 2013, then they will want another one in 2014.

  7. What ever the brutality had happened on 6th, 7th and 8th Feb. is direct result of the failure of Anni and Anni is responsible for that

  8. MDP should be offered 4 ministerial posts even though there in the opposition they should accept it. Jp and AP's miniterss should be reduced to accomadate the opposition MDP in the cabinet .mDP should join the cabinet with at least three cabinet posts 9 state ministers posts and 13 deputy ministers posts . IF so the country will be stable


Comments are closed.