The government of the Maldives has agreed to strengthen the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) “to make it more impartial, credible and broadly acceptable,” Commonwealth Special Envoy Sir Donald McKinnon has noted in his concluding statement.
“The Commonwealth wants to support an independent and impartial Inquiry Commission that helps the people of Maldives address the events of 7 February 2012 in a manner that moves the country forward in its democratic journey,” McKinnon said.
“Our efforts today have paved the way for such an effort. I look forward to former President Nasheed confirming a suitable candidate to join this Commission by the time it begins its work on 1 June 2012.”
McKinnon departed Male’ on May 15, after the government agreed to accept a nominee from the ousted President Nasheed’s side on the commission, and a retired Judge from Singapore to serve as co-chair.
Agreement between the government and Nasheed’s party lasted as long as it took for both sides to hold press conferences yesterday evening.
The government has set conditions for Nasheed’s appointee: they must not have served in a political position in the past two years, must not have taken a public stand on the transfer of power, and must “be of good behavior and integrity”.
Following the rejection of nine candidates put forward by Nasheed, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) contended that the conditions were “highly subjective” and “nonsensical”.
If the government required a candidate who had not yet taken a public stand, “then they are saying Dr Waheed will appoint President Nasheed’s representative,” said former Youth and Human Resources Minister, Hassan Latheef. The government has said it will appoint a lawyer to represent Nasheed if agreement is not reached by June 1.
Minivan News is awaiting a response from the Commonwealth as to whether the government’s conditions for the nominee were endorsed during McKinnon’s discussions with the parties.
President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza meanwhile today dismissed speculation that convenor of the stalled roadmap discussions, Ahmed Mujthaba, would be appointed co-chair of the commission, stating instead that the co-chair should be “someone like Mujthaba, respected, experienced, and acceptable to all parties.”
Ismail Shafeeu, former President Gayoom’s Defence Minister currently chairing the commission, would remain, Riza said.
Gayoom’s party, the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), has also requested Dr Waheed give them a seat on the commission.
Speaking to press today, PPM Deputy Leader Umar Naseer said: “President Nasheed has made the false allegation that our party’s interim president is behind the coup, and if a seat is reserved for Nasheed’s representative, then we must have representation on the council as well.”