Founder of the Virgin empire, multi-billionaire Sir Richard Branson, has again delved into Maldivian politics with a third blog post on the subject, declaring his support for early elections “as soon as feasibly possible”.
Branson first wrote an open letter calling on “interim” President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan to “do the right thing” and hold free and fair elections before the end of the year, describing it as “completely astounding that you have been part of an overthrow of a democratically elected government that has effectively let the old regime back into power.”
Several days later he had a phone call with Dr Waheed, and subsequently said he believed the new president was “determined to be an honest broker” who “had nothing to do with [the coup]. He watched the situation unfolding on television.”
Branson’s third and most recent post came after “a lengthy conversation with former President Mohamed Nasheed”, who “wanted to be sure that it was completely clear what had happened in the Maldives.”
“Mr Nasheed said that he had been overthrown by a coup. He said that the confusion about what happened in the first two days came about because he was forced to remain in the Presidential Palace in order to keep him away from the press, was therefore incommunicado, and only managed to escape after a couple of days,” Branson wrote.
“He said that he was very concerned the Maldives could become another Afghanistan. He believes that the way to resolve this is for interim President Waheed to step down and for The Speaker to hold court for two months.
He said he sees no reason why there shouldn’t be early elections during this calendar year, preferably within two-to-three months. The people of this country, he said, need to be asked as soon as possible who they want to rule them. The Maldives and the Maldivians urgently need to get back on track.
“He believed that there was is Islamic element of the military and mentioned that some of them chanted on the street “God is great”. He said that the new government had thrown out all human rights cases and corruption cases, which he felt was wrong. He said that some of his MPs had been removed, others had court cases brought against them.
“He ended by saying: ‘Governments should only be changed through the ballot box and not by any other means. No military in the world should be allowed to take over a Government and hold on to it.’
“We now have both sides of the story,” Branson declared.
“Having listened to both sides, it does seem wise for an election to take place as soon as is feasibly possible so that the people of the Maldives can begin to put this ugly chapter behind them.”
Branson attended the Slow Life Symposium at the upmarket Soneva Fushi resort in October 2011, a highly eco-conscious resort owned by Sonu and Eva Shivdesani.
Other attendees at the resort included actress Daryl Hannah, star of films including ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Kill Bill’ and ‘Splash’; Ed Norton, star of films including ‘Fight Club’ and ‘American History X’; Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project; Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed; and an array of climate experts and scientists including Mark Lynas and Mike Mason.
15 thoughts on “Richard Branson calls for early elections “as soon as feasibly possible””
Nice try by a resort owner and traitor Waheed to whitewash what really happened. Did not work!!!
Islamic element in the military??it is 100% islamic for Nasheed's info.and what is wrong with calling out Allah Akbar?Doesn't all the presidents of the U.S go about calling out 'God bless America' in between every two statements??and the brits want God to save the queen? are they all religious extremists?? Allah is arabic for God for Nasheed's information,seriously the man is very ignorant!no wonder he ended up where he is.
Waheed, you can try and fool Topy and Ilham, but not everyone around the world! Sir Richard Branson did not become what he is today by living a life full of lies. You think that you can just fool all who ask a question from you. If you think that the majority of Maldives will vote for you as the president, why don't you go for an election? You are holding this tight within the reins that you have now because you and the gang behind you know that they will not get even 5%. Try and prove that this is wrong! Maldivians aren't pea-brained, as you think we are. MDP awakened our minds and we will stay with our elected President Mohamed Nasheed; now and forever. you will not get even an iota of respect even from us. We curse you and your gang.
WAHEED WILL TRY HIS BEST NOT TO HAVE ELECTIONS;THAT IS BECAUSE HIS DAYS ARE NUMBERED THEN. WAHEED IS CLUTCHING THE LION TAIL! HE CANNOT LET GO FOR THE POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES. FREEZE ALL THESE TRAITOR/CONSPITATORS' ( AND OF THOSE INVOLVED WITH HIM ) ASSETS AND GIVE IT TO THE PUBLIC! THAT IS THE ULTIMATE JUSTICE.
Cry infront of an many rich people you find Terrorist Anni, but there will be no elections before 2013 and you won't win the elections even in 2013. So stop dreaming and keep yourself busy with your wine bottles.
Richard Branson is marrying a girl from Maldives. That is why he is so concerned.
Please understand, people.
its very likely that MDP will fail even if an election is held today. mdp has a vocal minority but not a voting majority. so all this call for early elections if heeded might come out very badly for MDP.
I am getting weary of this billionaire's idiocy. So I am least bothered about what he has too say.
Who the f**k does Richard Branson think he is? He has no say in Maldivian politics. Just becus he has billions of dollard does he think that he have a say in the domestic affairs of all third-world poor countries?
I suppose if Richard Branson can meddle in our politics, Dr. Waheed also can tell him how to run Virgin Atlantic & to limit his outrageous publicity stunts...Next Branson would be telling us how to live our lives.
Are we to let every rich western tom, dick & harry to lead Maldives? We are no longer under the British monarch. We are supposed to be independent, not puppets of the western world!
We have to listen and respect these foreign figures......Will only be good for our country!! It's true we are not under the British monarch anymore....we depend on the foreigners for almost everything...what do we have? 'olhu ala' only, and its not enough in a least sense.
Why are the 23rd December goons so scared of an early election??????
Mr Branson majority of the Maldivians respect your views. However, few people including corrupt businessmen who use God and religion as a shield for their selfish, uncivilized behavior obviously will fail to acknowledge. It is our humble request to you to accept that Waheed played a major role in the coup .. we, like you thought he was an honorable man .. Don't be misled with this man's cunning plans to show a baby face to the international community while he shows his fist to the Maldivians. He let is military and police beat the youth of Maldives fighting for justice.. He is barbaric and must step down immediately..
Sir Branson, you have called for an early election. Thank you for expressing your view which is a right on your side. The truth is far from what Mr. Nasheed claims to be. Even if we needed an early election, the only obstruction to that is Mr. Nasheed and the violence he leads on the streets of the Maldives. We do not wish to have an election while public and private properties are been burned down by violent MDP thugs on direct orders from Nasheed. Nasheed is back on the street spreading lies and hatred, burning places and hijacking the maldivian parliament. You should view the uncivilised behaviour of his party MPs who hijacked the law making house of the country. So his and his parties behaviour is far from wanting a peacfull solution to the political impasse. But come the election Nasheed will be booted out big time. Nasheed in this country is a symbol of violence.
Mr Branson and others reading this: those who call Nasheed a symbol of violence and hatred need to look within themselves. To those who talk about lawmaking non-cooperation by the MDP: would you enter into negotiations with pirates who unlawfully grab the place first? Hello? The damage and violence to property is the work of paid thugs belonging to the current rogue regime, with the aim of fooling those who insist on being fooled, like this Miner character (Minor more like) What about the damage inflicted on human lives during the 30 years of dictatorship and on February 7th onwards?Isn't that more important than property, public or private? To those who continue to distort the truth when all around can see what is happenning on a daily basis:what you see outside is what you have inside. Look into your conscience and just get comfortable with it.
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