President declares he will remain in power until November 16

President Mohamed Waheed has declared he will stay in power beyond the conclusion of his presidential term, but said he will resign on the day of the run-off, scheduled November 16.

Waheed was due to address the nation at 10:30pm – an hour and a half prior to the expiry of his term – however the announcement was delayed by 45 minutes. His Vice President Waheed Deen resigned this morning.

Minivan News observed large numbers of riot police assembling in Republic Square, prior to Waheed’s announcement tonight. Protests immediately erupted in Male as Special Operations Police clashed with demonstrators near Sosun Magu, with at least 600 people at time of press throwing rocks at riot police.

Waheed, who received just 5.13 percent in the annulled first round vote on September 7, had previously declared that he had no intention of remaining in power “even a day after November 11”.

“To the best of my ability, I attempted to hold a peaceful election in which all candidates and the citizenry’s rights are protected. This is because an election that is inclusive and acceptable to everyone is in the highest interest of this country,” Waheed said on Sunday night.

“The current presidential term will end at midnight tonight. Since the constitution does not state what must happen in this situation and since there is a fear of a constitutional void, and since this can be solved through a constitutional amendment, I asked the People’s Majlis to solve this issue. However, the best solution was not found and since the constitution does not state what must happen, the Supreme Court has decided the government will continue instead of going into a constitutional void. And they have ruled there is no other constitutional norm,” he declared.

“Today, as the head of state, my responsibility is to protect the country’s highest interests. Many Maldivians, international organisations and countries are pressuring me to resign and temporarily hand over the government to the People’s Majlis Speaker. On the other hand, even more citizens want me to stay on, to continue with administration of the country, to carry out my duty,” Waheed claimed.

“None of these decisions will be easy for me or the country. No matter what I do, the days to come will not be easy. Hence, upon discussions with many parties, and since I have worked in the past 21 months to hold a peaceful and smooth election, and since the Elections Commission has decided to hold the election on the 16th of this month, I will continue with the duties of the president until the end of the 16th day of this month.

“But I also inform you I will resign my post at the end of the 16th day. I have decided so after many relevant authorities gave me the certainty the election will be held on he 16th. I assure you, my citizens, that you are the closest to my heart and most loved people,” he said.

Images on social media appeared to show Waheed departing Male on a speedboat, flanked by security.

Speaker of parliament Abdulla Shahid tweeted following Waheed’s announcement: “A government is not legitimate unless it is carried on with the consent of the governed. As of 11 November 2013, we have no legitimate government.”

Senior and mid-ranking Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officers as recently as yesterday were appealing to their colleagues not to recognise the authority of the President and his cabinet after midnight November 10. Former head of military intelligence Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam was meanwhile summoned to police headquarters prior to Waheed’s announcement.

The Supreme Court on November 9 upheld its earlier ruling on October 7 stating that Waheed could remain in power past the conclusion of his term on November 11, dismissing a parliament resolution passed last week demanding the installment of the speaker after the expiry of the term.

Yameen refused to sign the voter lists needed under Supreme Court guidelines to hold today’s election, declaring that he would only be ready for a vote after November 13.

“I am certain that President Waheed will stay with the Maldivian people at this most difficult time we are facing. I have no doubt about that,” Yameen said following the revote on November 9.

His demand was followed by a stamped but unsigned ruling issued at 5:30am on Sunday morning by the Supreme Court two hours before polls were due to open, which declared that the run-off vote should be held on November 16 despite the Elections Commission and all candidates previously agreeing that it should be held on November 10.

Waheed’s decision to remain in power follows stern statements from the UN, Commonwealth and US expressing “deep concern” at the Supreme Court’s repeated interference in the election, and implied the need for an interim government following the conclusion of the presidential term.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Sir Don McKinnon highlighted Article 124 of the constitution concerning the transfer of power to the Speaker of Parliament should a President resign or be otherwise incapacitated.

“In the absence of a political agreement, the people must look to their Constitution for guidance and have confidence in their Constitution. Article 124 makes clear the spirit and intent of the Constitution for situations such as the one the country is currently facing,” McKinnon stated.

“Article 124 reflects the basic democratic principle that the state’s power must always lie with the people and their elected representatives. This is the fundamental underpinning of the Constitution. Elected representatives speak for the people. I therefore believe that Article 124 offers the most appropriate guidance to avoid constitutional uncertainty and sustain the support of the people,” McKinnon said.

The US Embassy in Colombo stated that “efforts by the Supreme Court to repeatedly and unduly interfere in the electoral process subverts Maldives’ democracy and takes decision-making out of the hands of the people. It is imperative that Maldives proceed to a runoff election with no further interference so that the democratic process can complete the transition to new leadership.”

Yameen is due to face Nasheed in the run-off now scheduled for Saturday November 16. Third-placed candidate Gasim Ibrahim declared he would not be supporting either candidate in the run-off, although his coalition partner the Adhaalath Party declared its support for Yameen.

Nasheed said on Sunday that if President Waheed continued in government he did not believe the president “or people aligned with him would want an election in the country. I think it is very clear that elections would go our way. If they do not intend to transfer power legally, then we do not see how they would want to have an election. So we don’t think there could be a conducive environment for elections. The Supreme Court will come out with another ruling upon the military or upon the police to definitely obstruct the elections. Come 1the 6th of November, we will be back to square one,” Nasheed said.


22 thoughts on “President declares he will remain in power until November 16”

  1. In this infantile political game: playground rules apply: how do you deal with the bullies? You stick with your mates, you stay put, you do not back down. And above all you do not panic. To do so is to hand him the power he needs to feel safe. You hold your head high, you keep going, against all odds, slowly but surely.

    Because what is a bully in the end? A pathetic , insecure human being that needs at least one sidekick and a need to feel he is the boss, by any means, usually foul. The person who has held the Maldives to ransom for so long is just that. A bully who started out as an insecure child. Never forget what is behind that strongman persona. Let go the fear and keep the cool. Hint: this puppet president is the proverbial (self seeking) sidekick who is conning himself in the end that he loves his country. He has betrayed his country and his soul and he needs to face that, if not now, on judgement day.

  2. A sad day.

    If only the two sides could have come together to avoid this standoff.

    Neither forcing the Speaker on PPM/JP and its supporters nor forcing Waheed on MDP supporters is a formula for peace.

    The ideal, nay utopian, solution would have been reaching political consensus on interim arrangements. Without consensus what remains is the doctrine of might makes right. PPM has Waheed in their hands who is the head of government in name so commands the apparatus by which his rule may be prolonged by force or the threat of it. This is the worst kind of interim arrangement - a dictatorship overseeing democratic elections. Shahid propped up by MDP supporters within and without government would not have been the right solution either.

    Sir Don has thrown his vocal support behind what appears to the Commonwealth to be the most favorable position for them but I am sure all of us in our right minds would agree that Waheed and Shahid spell the same sort of disaster.

    No Constitution in the whole wide world would provide for a situation that it does not want to foresee - that it is not fulfilled. However Sir Don is right in saying that Article 124 is the closest thing we have to a guiding light. Yet this guiding light itself must receive bipartisan support for it to be effective.

    I think I'm on a loop here but what I'm basically saying is that the next 5 days were going to be tense either this way or that.

    A lot of work will be necessary to repair the ever deepening rifts in our society and to restore confidence in institutions which have been exposed as political tools unrestrained by morals or values. I say this for the judiciary and the Parliament as well. Those of us whose icons have support over either of these institutions would rush to defend them but I urge anyone who cares to give a ear to what their opponents are saying as well and tally up their numbers too. Yes a lot of us support this side or that for money, for position or because of filial relations but in a country where political ideologies are based on personalities those reasons are unsurprising.

    What matters is that institutons have been discredited, trust has been lost and from the looks of it a government run by either side is not going to be easily accepted by the other. An election is not going to solve a lot of the issues that are going to plague this country for years to come.

  3. Are you sure the majority wants you to stay or it is only your master and his biased panel of judges who have decided you must stay to carry on their dirty business?
    What a shame!!!

  4. Heartfelt sympathies to wanna bee King Speaker Shahid and Royalists. No more havaru or drums or royal ceremony

  5. Many are watching on the next steps of the people who have been releasing statements of "concern" on the situation in Male'?

    What is the turning point? When will you do something meaningful, and mean what you say? Now its 11 Nov, and there is no elected president, is it still going to be business as usual?

  6. @ tsk tsk : What if we elected a president who must secure 70% or higher ?

  7. This pathetic dirty, greedy and cruel human being called Mohamed Waheed is now a timid hostage of those who orchestrated the coup. Not only This pathetic ,lying lowly human being will pay dearly for every drop of blood shed by the ordinary suffering innocent citizens of Maldives but also his entire family. May you and all you hold dear suffer the pains you inflicted to this nation. You may suffer on earth as well as here after.

  8. @ tsk tsk
    Excellent post, true insight.
    Are we then implying the Maldives should return to a Protectorate? Maybe the UN using Saudia Arabian troops donning the blue berets?

    Or do they return to a distasteful yet definitive dictatorship?

    The reason I ask is that from this angle none of the politicians or parties, the Judiciary or security forces seem to have a single idea what the word 'Democracy' means.

    And, here is the freaky part. Because the population are supporting these clowns, I am not sure the Maldivian people know what democracy is... For the simple reason......

    They have never had any!

  9. Even McKinnon as an outsider clearly sees Article 124 as the guiding principle by which the country should move under the circumstances. Waheed is, without doubt, committing treason by effectively grabbing power unilaterally. His reference to the Supreme Court is baseless as that Court has failed to protect the Constitution repeatedly in order to save the interests and jobs of certain individuals. The country is once again under totalitarian rule.

    I doubt that we will ever see Waheed as he's most likely to leave the country from his "retreat" in the presidential holiday resort. We have no idea where he got the idea that the "majority" want him to stay in power outside his defined term. The people of the country have not been asked to let him stay on either through Parliament, as required by law or by a referendum. The people clearly showed their opinion of him as a future President, with a 5% showing in the annulled first round polls.

    Of course, part of this agenda is to frustrate the voting Maldivian public so that Yameen can come to power via any means. He wants to play this game, so that he sets the field, the rules, the referees and the time! The motto appears to be, "It's Yameen's way or the highway". The tools used to enforce this are the police, the military and the Supreme Court, with Waheed as a proxy.

    If the international community actually translates words into action, then it won't take very long for Yameen and Waheed to fall into line. Let the Maldivian people realise that their country is being dragged deep down into never-before seen lows by the rule of Yameen using Waheed as a proxy.

  10. I really praise the VP who resigned and shown some moral value, but see the Waheed being puppet of Gayoom who despite saying the he does not want to continue beyond 11th Nov'13 has stick to the power as ordered by his masters. Police, judiciary and even MNDF are all biased institutions and favor Gayoom their masters, even next Saturday's run off is doubtfull as dictators will find some way or other to abandon the run off and Suprem Court again will take guidance from PPM & JP to issue another dictat. Maldives is going to face serious problems in future because of dictators enfluencing military, police and the judiciary. Internation communities like US, UK, European union Commonwealth and India will just see the things unfolding the way dictators like and cannot do anything. Really pathetic to see the condition of Maldives. Maldives needs a civil revolution to set right the things for once and all.

  11. As tsk tsk has mentioned this is a sad day. I agree with everything tsk tsk said. Seemed words were taken out of my mouth.
    The best solution now is for the parliament to decide on a true Independent MP who could lead an interim government

  12. Everyone is in with a chance! Play fair, and you will emerge with honour intact.

    Dr Waheed being President until the 16th, and the certainty of elections being held on that day ought by now to be taken as donnees. That he allowed himself to be made a puppet is something that he can wrestle with his conscience. The fact is that two fair polls were conducted in September and November, and he will allow the Elections Commission to cleanly conduct the run-off next Saturday. He is an intelligent man; he will be happy to add 18 months as President to his C.V. and get back to a U.N. job. Why grudge him that? There are more important issues to be investigated.

    The attention of the entire thinking World is focussed on what is happening in the Maldives and there will be plenty of International Observers to ensure a clean election. Mohamed Nasheed has done all the difficult work, and he can win if he allows all his supporters to rationally plan to be in place to cast their ballots on the 16th. The fewer public histrionics the better. Ordering Hamid to stop using the Majlis as a safe haven will be one of the few reassuring gestures now required. To organize vigilance from 6.00 a.m to Midnight on Voting Day, the MDP has plenty of committed young people. For the rest let there be nothing to startle anyone for the next five days; concentrate on visiting as many remote islands as possible, and let Male and the Diaspora know that Saturday will be the crucial day for the Maldives!

  13. May you be joined by Nazim, Riyaz, Umar, Yamin, Gasim, Imran and the rest on Friday night and BURN in hell!!! the country and the world will be better off without you...

  14. Hello Citizens of Maldives, Please listen.
    Common wealth today announced they are deeply concerned. How many times they were deeply concerned before ? That is as far as it goes. Qasim was our packet of condom. We used two condoms and just one is left. If we cant use it we shall destroy it. Look at Umar Naseer. What he did not say about Yamin? He is back folks supporting Yamin and willing to lick his back side. Just watch after our Royal becomes President every member of MDP also will be licking the back side of our Royal Yamin.

  15. Neverending dramas...
    Surly, Yamin can do much better political games. Eagerly waiting to see what are his remaining trump cards besides the SC judges.

  16. What I find absurd is Minivannews talking as if there is this constitutional void while clearly there is non. This is in total violation of the constitution.

  17. "I asked the People’s Majlis to solve this issue. However, the best solution was not found"

    This solution was agreed and voted on by the democratically elected representatives of the people, however Waheed and the four corrupt members of the Supreme Court have decided that it is not the best solution, so it does not happen. Unbelievable!

  18. @Sri Lankan Teacher: "Ordering Hamid to stop using the Majlis as a safe haven will be one of the few reassuring gestures now required."

    Not only Hamid, but Jabir as well. Jabir explicitly joined MDP after he was caught drinking and smoking drugs, so that he could hide behind the MDP machinery. Providing refuge to such people will always lead to disaster in the end.

    Jabir is now threatening to leave the party if Speaker Shahid is not ousted! Jabir can go to hell. He won't even be an MP for long if his trial goes to conclusion.


Comments are closed.