Government has “no choice” but to hold early elections this year: MDP

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has claimed that the government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan will have no choice but concede to holding early elections this year amidst what it sees as “intense” domestic and international pressure to do so.

MDP Spokesperson and MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor made the claims amidst what he alleged was a background of “intense diplomatic activity” currently taking place in the country on the back of the ongoing protests and political deadlock that have followed February’s controversial power transfer.

The MDP has alleged that former President Mohamed Nasheed was forced to resign under “duress” on February 7 in a “coup d’etat”, leading to calls from the party for early elections this year over concerns about the present government’s legitimacy.

However, President Waheed, who contends he came to power legitimately after Nasheed’s resignation from office, has said the earliest fresh polls can be held under the constitution is July 2013.

President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad and spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza were not responding to calls at the time concerning the comments.

As state and private celebrations took place this weekend across the country to mark 47 years of the Maldives becoming an independent nation, President Waheed used a national address to call for citizens to maintain a “high regard” for the country’s laws and legislation.

MDP supporters have themselves continued nightly demonstrations in the capital.  Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef has said the protests were conducted without serious incident and have resulted in no arrests over the last two days.

The MDP anticipates that thousands of its supporters took to the streets on Thursday evening during a march in the capital to call for early elections and an end to alleged arbitrary arrests of demonstrators.

International concern at “political tension”

The demonstrations, which have been held consecutively over the last month, have led to international bodies such as the Commonwealth and EU raising concerns over what they claim has been as an “escalation of political tension and violent protests” in the nation of late.

These statements were followed this week by calls from British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt for “high level talks” between the country’s opposing political factions. The minister said such discussions were needed to find a more peaceful political resolution to the violent clashes between protesters and police.

Burt said that while welcoming the formation of a reconstituted Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) – established initially by President Waheed to investigate the transfer of power that saw his administration inaugurated on February 7 – the UK wished for a quick and fair conclusion to the body’s work.

“I encourage all relevant actors in Maldives to refrain from any actions that could jeopardise the stable environment necessary to allow the Commission of National Inquiry to complete its work and for free and fair elections to take place,” he said.

“I call on all sides to show restraint in the interest of achieving a sustainable political solution to Maldives’ recent problems. Protests must be peaceful and the security response professional and proportionate. Violence and any cases of excessive use of force should be investigated and those responsible held to account,” the statement continued.

“Very successful” protests

MDP MP Ghafoor claimed the month’s ongoing demonstrations had been “very successful” in galvanising support for early elections to be held this year – an aim he believed that would “soon” be realised.

The protests have continued amidst allegations of protesters inciting violence against reporters and security forces, as well as counter claims of unchecked police brutality.

“Many people were there for the Independence Day protests regardless of how the current administration wants to make it appear otherwise,” Ghafoor alleged. “This coup administration is now very shaky, they are unable to run the country, of which they have made a complete mess. I cannot see how they can hold on [to power].”

The MDP spokesperson said that despite the international community prioritising ongoing violent clashes in Syria at present, concern was increasing among foreign diplomats over the rhetoric and demands of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who currently serves as leader for the government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

Ghafoor added that Gayoom has, on separate occasions, called for an apology from, and the arrest of former President Nasheed over insinuations he was directly involved in organising the alleged “coup d’etat” on February 7.   The MDP meanwhile has alleged that the PPM leader was refusing to sit down to talks between the country’s various political heads.

After Nasheed appeared to offer a conditional apology to his predecessor, Ghafoor added that Gayoom’s continued refusal to engage in dialogue with opposition figures in the country threatened to make him an “irrelevant” figure in the current political process.

“When Gayoom refuses to engage in dialogue and has his tantrums, he is showing the international community that he is not a 21st century politician,” he claimed. “When these people are against dialogue they show there is no interest in moving ahead peacefully.”

PPM MP and Spokesperson Ahmed Mahlouf and the party’s Deputy Leader Umar Naseer were not responding to calls at the time of press regarding the MDP’s claims.

With the holy month of Ramazan commencing last week, the MDP contended that the mindset of its supporters had not changed in regards to its so-called “direct action” demonstrations – with the recent nightly protests expected to continue indefinitely.

Ghafoor claimed that he expected tensions could rise further with PPM-backed protests also potentially taking place in and around the capital during the next few weeks.

The party’s demonstrations have in part been linked in local media to concerns over the high-profile murder this week of policeman Lance Corporal Adam Haleem whilst he was on duty on the island of Kaashidhoo.

The officer’s death saw figures on both sides of the country’s political divide accusing their opponents of using the death to forward their own respective agendas, particularly in relation to the legality and conduct of ongoing opposition protests in the capital.

Ghafoor has alleged that in the current environment, and with opposition allegations of arbitrary arrests and violence against civilians, a growing number of police and military personnel were not wanting to be identified with the current government.

He also alleged that while a number of officers had acted in a mature manner with their approach to trying to control crowds, a number of “thugs” working within police ranks had continued to incite violence against demonstrators, while targeting specific opposition individuals and media personnel.

The Maldives Police Service has maintained that its officers have continued to exercise minimum force against protesters despite a handful of serious injuries sustained within its ranks during the sporadic eruption of violent clashes during the last month.

During the month’s protests, Minivan News has at times witnessed a general atmosphere that has verged between noisy and almost playful to sudden bouts of cat and mouse baiting of police by anti-government figures in the crowd.

The MDP has maintained that its protests are “largely peaceful” and that it was police who were responsible for instigating violence and making arbitrary arrest of senior figures. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has also this month expressed concern over violent protests and use of “excessive force” against demonstrators.

In this volatile climate, the Police Family Association yesterday released a statement calling for the public to consider that police officers were human beings who have “rights like others, and their persons and dignity must be held in due regard by everybody”.

According to local media, the statement also raised concerns over the death of Lance Corporal Haleem, stating that lessons should be taken from his “sacrifice” in order to motivate offcers to peacefully restore law and order.

“The Statement of PFA also said that it was ‘proud of the exemplary service rendered by the Police and for the great sacrifices by police officers without a step backward, in order to protect this nation from the challenges posed by social changes today,’” reported the Sun Online news service.

“At times of sadness, hatred and anger, everyone must accept that police officers are also human beings, and that they are also entitled to human rights just as others are, and the dignity of their lives must be respected. Especially, this Association believe that everyone must respect the rights of police officers serving this nation if we wish to strengthen and prolong democracy and human rights in this country”, the statement continued.

CNI extension

Aside from protesting, Ghafoor also pointed to the CNI’s ongoing work on the country as being another key focus for the MDP during the next month, despite raising concerns about who exactly had given permission for an extension to the body’s deadline until the end of next month.

“Who has allowed for the extended deadline to go ahead? The CNI was scheduled to conclude by July 30, but now this Judge Selvam has said there will be one more month for its work,” Ghafoor claimed. “We also see that there is a two month process involved here, yet the judge has at times taken a four-day weekend off from CNI. Similarly there is just one media briefing a fortnight. Considering this is just a two-month process, there should be at least one a week.”

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31 thoughts on “Government has “no choice” but to hold early elections this year: MDP”

  1. I don't want to reduce the equation to its most primitive denominator but yellow flags, pretty ribbons and silly children yelling "baghee" until their throats are sore cannot match the might of our armed forces nor the weight of our entire state apparatus.

    The MDP must stop living in fantasy land and work within the context of established procedures.

    That is, if they truly want to contest that their delusion of ever being able to return to power is not in fact, a delusion.

    If they choose to work outside the law, then they have no right to complain for the retribution that will inevitably, justifiably, follow.

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  2. Stop talking crap about MDP. Why don't you ever talk about other parties. or what bull$$$$ they talk and do(PPM, DRM and Adhaalath party)

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  3. Still ranting this old story?

    Get to grips with it. There will be no elections this year. Not because there are not enough reasons for it, but the current office holders would not allow it.

    The best practical option is to prepare for a clean win next year. You have my vote.

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  4. @tsk tsk
    procedures and the might of the police is all that you have. when chaos breaks out in the streets, there is a limit to how many people you can put in jail and how many months and years you can tolerate with MDP protestors showing up in hundreds out on to the street.

    a blind man in an remote island today knows what went down on the streets of 7th and 8th. it is obvious that this was not your so called procedural beauty of a transition of power from one president to the other. it was a military coup, followed by gayoom and friends taking back control of the executive.

    the lowest denominator is not the police and state. its eventually the people out on the streets who will come after you and when that day comes, your political future in this country will be tarnished forever. good luck.

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  5. @tsk tsk

    Stop attacking my beloved, my one and only, my Nasheed,
    I would have married her if she was not already taken.

    Alas, ive to live the rest of my life in heart break

    Nasheed for emperor/pope

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  6. This is the kind of talk that will keep the silly children of MDP going. So this kind of rhetoric needs to be on the headlines very now and then. Otherwise the few who attend MDP rallies will aso loose interest.

    If you see who and who attend MDP rallies you will easily notice that these are the few who will directly benefit if MDP is in power.

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  7. Highly unlikely MDP will win any presidential election whether its taken this year or next year.
    The reasons are: their gross mismanagement of the country in their 3 year rule. Their fight against islam, while a great majority here is quite religious. Their rhetoric and attacks against security forces who hold voting rights and together with their immediate family hold a considerable number.
    For me, i voted for MDP during the last presidential elections. But now i will never cast my vote to them. Never ever again!

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  8. That is also what opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe has been saying since 2008. But did the situation change there? No.

    There are question legitimacy to be cleared, but this Government will not resign. It is for sure. Because the stakes are far too high for them and they know it.

    MDP's win in 2008 is unique and perhaps accidental. But now there are people who will go to any length (including nuclear, is affordable) to maintain power.

    There are areas in Male, like Maafannu Customs area that police have absolutely no control. The thieves are all known but nothing is done. The gangs operations are either supported by the Council or even too powerful for the police. If such lawless IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW in certain parts of Male, and police gives a blind eye, why do you think some will try and have an election.

    My point here IS to point out the current lawlessness prevalent in the country. If such small things are not fixed, why would any one expect that major issues would be resolved. The country is beyond turning point. If you don't believe, drive around some parts of Male and see the gangs in broad day light operating with ABSOLUTE impunity.

    May Allah bless those in the right path.

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  9. The political parties do not address the criminal gang issues directly - isn't that enough evidence that all parties are in the thick of it.

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  10. Perhaps the bigger delusion is a bunch of middle aged phd holders, lawyers and bygone politicians denying existence of MDP public support, the greater public who are not MDP but against this government and then trying to convince themselves and n absent public that they came to power in a squeeky clean wholesome cholesterol /sugar and fat free process.

    It is true what tsk tsk says, the ultimate end to this is the police force cracking down on the public.

    In other words, their least concern is democracy and the public. The heart of the matter is to remain in power and to screw the system to sustain power.

    there is no denying the fact public support has declined exponentially and that is the exact reason why you all are against an early election in order to bring back the legitimacy to this whole charade that started from the moment Anni came to power. Better to get rid of all your kind once and for all.

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  11. @LOL and @Ineedsomecash;

    Rather childish commenting under my name and pretending to respond to your own comments isn't it?

    Although I guess anyone who can read can tell the difference between your opinion of my views and the actual opinions I have expressed myself here in this forum.

    The situation at home is very different from the one which is projected abroad. Loyalists of Nasheed within the MDP are the only one's conducting any protests and this is an undeniable fact. A gathering of 300 in the City of Male is peanuts compared to our population of around 60,000 plus.

    My view on the whole fiasco is that we must all try and be patient while the Commission of National Inquiry issues their report on the events surrounding the transfer of power on 7th February.

    Also, regardless of whatever our political leaders decide between themselves I sincerely believe that if we go for elections without addressing the serious problems which led to the resignation of Nasheed and the structural shortcomings within our new democratic system, then we do future generations a great injustice.

    We forget that a standoff between the opposition and Nasheed's government led to several unprecedented moves on the part of an elected government. The Nasheed regime;
    - Caused severe damage to the tourism industry by pretending to enforce a close-down of therapeutic spas.
    - Violated the constitution by taking arbitrary measures against business interests belonging to opposition leaders.
    - Made arbitrary and unlawful arrest of opposition figures and later a Chief Judge of the Criminal Court.

    The days prior to Nasheed's resignation saw;
    - Widespread attacks on the media, including acts of arson against television stations, physical attacks on journalists and threats by the government to close down media outlets for 'slander against the government'.
    - A loss of public order with businesses in Male City suffering from arson, vandalism and lawlessness.

    Also the days following Nasheed's resignation showed that;
    - The security forces lack professionalism and a proper understanding of their role within a democratic state.
    - The independent institutions created to safeguard our democratic system are seriously weak.

    We need to address each and every one of these areas if we are to even pretend to advocate for democracy in this country. Supporting a certain Presidential candidate for the 2013 elections is not democracy in itself. Ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to contest elections and that all voters can make an informed choice at the ballots is the right way forward.

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  12. If the present regime is so confident of the belief that MDP is a spent force i wonder why are they so terrified to hold an election which is the win win situation for all before my beloved country is riuned? Lets ask the people their verdict.

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  13. Hamid is obviously living on the clouds to believe that a Presidential election will be held in the Maldives this year.

    Even a 5th Grader will know its impossible to hold an election without amending the Constitution which would be an impossible task within the remaining 5 months of 2012 even if they started the work today!

    To be a good spin doctor, one should at least try to sell something with some remote possibility. Hamid is obviously worse than former Press Sec Zuhair aka. Juha.

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  14. @tsk tsk

    Chis chis kohliyas fis fis kohliyas magey nethey veveykah baaggee akah

    You may write what you will but the Peoples Will will prevail.

    You really are more deluded than I thought. Wake up. Our nation has.

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  15. LOL is not impersonating you tsk tsk. The boy is on some insane, imaginary crusade against Kutti Nasheed and I think your impersonater is trying to indulge him and aggravate him for the sake of amusement.

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  16. "The public has no choice but to understand the dumbness of the half baked brain of his highness, seyku Nasheed!"

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  17. @tsk tsk you guys got no choice but to give up. the clock is ticking and this game will be over anytime soon.

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  18. Again stop spreading your propaganda. I think I know what happens in Male city better than the guy in the fish market. You can give your peanut to Gasim. He likes peanuts as everything he got is BIG!

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  19. For the very first time, i'm convinced that Election Comission (EC) is a part of the executive.
    MDP is protesting against the government, demanding for a date to establish a legitimate government, where in fact, the election commission holds the power to cast votes. sorry MDP. You guys need to understand that Fuwad can provide a date for you.

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  20. I would like to empathise with both sides of the argument here,

    Why is people who are for the current government opposed to anyone who is an MDP supporter?

    And why do MDP supporters claim that the entire nation is behind them when their party, even if it is one of the largest parties(maybe even the largest one)
    is the entire country?

    Get this through to your heads guys,

    1-There are people who are opposed to the current government (MDP supporters) who are a large chunk of the population,

    2-But its horrendously wrong for MDP supporters to say the entire nation is
    behind us because, you have a great portion of the population behind the opposition as well. Then why are you claiming that the ENTIRE nation is behind you?

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  21. @tsk tsk:

    "Silly children"? Thanks for the slip. Goes on to show your sick attitude even towards children.

    PS: I wonder whether you beat your own "silly" children for disobedience.

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  22. "However, President Waheed, who contends he came to power legitimately after Nasheed’s resignation from office, has said the earliest fresh polls can be held under the constitution is July 2013."

    Waheed contending he came to power legitimately!!!!! OMG!!!!!

    Does Waheed think that we, the people of Maldives were blind when all this happened amidst media?

    Waheed, you are nothing but a poor puppet.
    You rebelled and violated law.

    If you were not happy with how your President was functioning, you had the right to say so and resign.
    That would be acceptable.
    And if you had done that, you would have been free of everything!
    But you were so thirsty for the presidency of Maldives and lost the little sense you had.
    And like "Magoo", who never wanted to wash his face after the princess kissed his nose, you seem to have been waiting all your life for the moment to address the People's Majlis (under what ever circumstance!!!) as President of the Republic!

    Waheed, you are pathetic and you are guilty.
    Unless you and the people who brought about this coup are brought to justice, there can be no peace in this country and there can be no progress!

    In this situation like in algebra, two minuses is not going to make it a plus!

    Solution to this situation is an immediate election!
    Let the people talk and let them decide!

    You do not have any capacity to decide for the people!

    You are one amongst the many who rebelled against an elected government.

    In Islamic Shari'a, punishment for rebels is DEATH!

    Oh! Lord have mercy on this poor "Monkey Man"!

    You cannot eat!
    You cannot sleep!
    And you just cannot let go the sweet candy and cane you are holding onto!

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  23. @Patriot
    oh, my, my, when Islamic shariah states something that gives support and power to you, biased ignorant people, then Islamic Sharia is the best.

    when it talks about something that you lunatics dislike then it becomes the most horrendous religion of all!

    you politicians and dim-witted dorks can only use religion to gain power and nothing else

    you, power raving mad ignorants!!!??

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  24. @Aisha
    "people's will will prevail"
    kekekee

    "say Seyku Nasheeds will and his slaves will prevail"

    Gosh, what a state our country has come to?????!!! slaves of the bygone era?!!!

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  25. No wonder night and day, they bow to their dear leader, like in North Korea.

    the Prayer house is also on their dear leaders "fasgadu"

    who can ever pray to god when the dear leader is stark raving mad with his filthy mouth.???

    MY, people with power is claiming to be GODS, what a life we have ????!!!

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  26. @tsk tsk
    President Nasheed was elected president with the help of a coalition. No denying the fact. The coalition broke during the first year of his presidency and turned his allies to bitter rivals. This is inevitable when you have any more than 1 person who think he is president. The bitter rivals then joined hands with Gayoom to make life miserable for President Nasheed. They (you guys) took control of the judiciary, hackled inside the parliament, vented out on the streets, drove nasheed to a corner used the police force as a political agent to overthrow a sitting president.

    you may use your legal jargon and clever political examples of process and procedure, but it is not convincing anyone of the true fact that this government that is in power now needs to come clean by first removing itself and going for a fresh round of elections so people can decide.

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  27. Gayyoom must get fair punishment for the crimes he committed during the past 30 years in power. For he is the father of all the troubles we have today.

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