British business tycoon Sir Richard Branson has called for free elections “as soon as possible” in the Maldives, after police blocked the election from taking place on October 19.
The head of the Virgin Empire, who has previously blogged on the Maldives’ political turmoil, said he had drafted an article several weeks ago “to praise President Waheed for taking his country back into free and fair elections and bringing true democracy back to the country.”
“But before I had chance to publish it, the Maldives police intervened and stopped the ballot boxes reaching the polling stations,” Branson said.
His comments follow findings from the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) that the police stopped the election illegally, in violation of the constitution.
Additionally, a leaked Human Rights Commission (HRCM) report obtained by Minivan News questions the credibility of the evidence used by the Supreme Court to annul the first round of presidential polls, and the court’s authority to issue guidelines effectively permitting candidates to effectively veto future elections.
“Knowing President Waheed as I do, my instinct is that he is not behind the blocking of the election process, and that other people who didn’t do well in the first round of the elections are trying to stop a fair election taking place,” the tycoon suggested.
Waheed, who received 5.13 percent of the vote in the annulled first round, has withdrawn from the revote and publicly stated that he has no intention of remaining in power after the end of the presidential term on November 11.
“I am not comfortable to stay on. It would be my preference that there be an elected President. And it would also be my preference that if this is not possible, then there would be some other arrangement made,” Waheed told The Hindu.
Branson however observed that while the election had been rescheduled for November 9, “the Maldives Supreme Court has brought a ruling that the candidates will have the power of veto – so unless all candidates agree to the electoral roll there will be no elections.”
“Plus, if a run off is needed it will be on November 16th, which is after the expiry of the current presidential term, creating a constitutional void. This whole process is a huge threat to democracy, which perhaps sadly is what some of the candidates want, having seen how the public voted in the first election round,” Branson wrote.
“The people of the Maldives need fair representation and they need free elections as soon as possible. Should that not happen, governments must lobby for change and the world community must demand action until free, fair elections take place,” he concluded.
Branson first waded into Maldivian politics on his blog on February 24 2012, soon after Waheed’s controversial ascension to power amid a police mutiny earlier that month.
Branson publicly called for President Waheed to “do the right thing” and hold free and fair elections before the end of the year.
It was, Branson wrote to Dr Waheed, “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.”
“Knowing you, I would assume that you were given no choice and that it was through threats that you have ended up in this position,” Branson said. “I do very much hope that was the case rather than you doing it of your own free will.”
Days later, Branson wrote another entry, saying that he had spoken on the phone to Dr Waheed, who told him he had appointed “a respected person” to examine the truth of what caused President Nasheed to “resign”.
“He says that he didn’t know who issued an arrest warrant for President Nasheed after he left office but that it had been rescinded within 48 hours. He is determined to be an honest broker, to be seen to be one, and to get everyone’s confidence. He said that he offered to bring in people from President Nasheed’s party but they refused to join.”
A few days later, Branson wrote a third post, resuming his first call for early elections “as soon as feasibly possible”.
25 thoughts on “Virgin tycoon calls for elections in the Maldives “as soon as possible””
“Knowing President Waheed as I do, my instinct is that he is not behind the blocking of the election process, ..."
With due respect, Sir Richard doesn't know Waheed as well as the Maldivian public does. Without digressing too much, there are, broadly speaking, two types of people:
(1) Those who are direct and will not mess about.
(2) Those who are conniving, two faced and will not say the same thing to two different people on the same subject.
Waheed falls, almost surely, into the second category. This has been proven time and time again. He will say one thing to his local audience, and at the same time turn around and say something completely different to a foreign audience. Some examples:
(1) Just after getting his butt on the President's chair, he spoke at a rally and called for Jihad in the name of Islam, whilst being flanked by those who wrote anti-Semitic and anti-Christian hate literature!
(2) He turned around to the international community and said he had no choice but to join that bandwagon and he did not use the term Jihad in its original sense of the word! Did he say this to anyone in the local audience? Of course not!
(3) Famously (or infamously), throughout his year and half squat of the President's Office, he has denied any knowledge of a number of things that have been going on inside his government! One infamous incident involved his spokesperson going to a rally overnight and joining hardline extremists and calling for Indians to leave the Maldives (in reference to GMR).
(4) More recently, and more to the point, on the day the Police stopped the elections, his office released a circular, for the benefit of the international listeners, condemning that stoppage. But he sat as the head of state, on the National Security Committee which is claimed to have ordered the police to do what they did!
So, in conclusion, we can say with a lot of confidence, knowing Waheed as we (Maldivians) do, he was firmly and squarely behind all that happened.
Now, why would Branson be taking such a keen interest in the Maldives?
Are rumours correct and he has business interests in some of the resorts?
Soneva Fushi, maybe?
Oh yes... CNM have just reported Bransons old pal Waheed, the current President, has suddenly decided to take A 'holiday' ( nobody knows where he is) and it will be interesting to see if he ever comes back!!
Just imagine the fun and games if while abroad Waheed declares he is resigning (early) and stays out of the country until he feels he is unlikely to be prosecuted for instructing the police (as head of NSC) to stop the EC proceeding with the vote on the 19th. Its not going to be long until the truth is revealed.
Just recently, he has been issuing some very jittery statements.
Just a guess, but I suspect he has fled.
If he hasnt fled he is trying to delay Ahmed Hamzas swearing in. Heh heh.
What a nest of slippery vipers you people have there.
How can you possibly have democracy with this nonsense?
It would make even Idi Amin blush
'One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.'
He might not know Waheed as well as us, but Branson at least has more common sense then us, and that shows
Dear Sir Richard Branson.
Why don't you give your eMail-address to this media in order that evidences of the absolutely unacceptable behaviour of Dr. Waheed can be sent to you. He speakes - like a professional politician - with more than 20 faces/tongues. He has disappointed the most of the people who thought (like you) he is an honourable man.
Branson at least sees that Anni is suffering from a Histrionic Personality Disorder with God Complex (Narcissistic Personalities Disorder)and is just a demagogue or rabble-rouser: a "leader" in a democracy who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the less-educated citizens in order to gain power and promote political motives. Demagogues usually oppose deliberation and advocate immediate, violent action to address a national crisis.
Yep, Waheed has fled.
(1) At a time when the country is facing its worst political crisis in its history, what sort of a President takes a holiday?
(2) As others have said, I suspect he has fled.
(3) Moreover, this may be a tactic to delay appointing the new members to the JSC, in case, the new members try to cut up the messed up, corrupt, diseased and totally dysfunctional judicial system of the Maldives.
(4) Here is a likely scenario. If the new members are appointed to the JSC, they may get enough votes to suspend Ali Hameed (plus more) from the Supreme Court bench. Now, that'd be a calamity for PPM and JP!
There you are, and the reasons for Waheed's "holiday" should be pretty clear.
why didn't the virgin tycoon blog about any of nasheed's wrong doings?
The Good ol' charming and caring words from a billionaire tycoon!! How touchy!!
By the way, Mr Branson, some Brits are very unhappy about you quitting the country to some tax haven in the Caribbean!
If Branson had any shame he’d leave his knighthood behind when he flies Virgin to Necker
Oh well, these billionaires have everything made good for them. The capitalistic mind has given them enough power and money to quit own country! Whatever happened to patriotism and devotion to ones own land??!!
Waheed has fled(really??)! Sir Branson has fled to his own Carribean Tax haven! Where do you intend to flee in the coming days!!
Is Mr. Branson's intervention into the virgin democracy of Maldives is what is really needed now?
Knowing President Waheed as I do, my instinct is that he is not behind the blocking of the election process, and that other people who didn’t do well in the first round of the elections are trying to stop a fair election taking place,
You are sadly mistaken Sir, How van you expect him to be true to you when he stooped down to the lowest level pf forgetting and forgiving the perpetrator who jailed his entire family along with his own mother?
How could he explain it to the people who suffered under the 30 years of dictatorial rule that he effectively let the old regime back to power and still is there not having guts or the conscience to save the nation from Maumoon's atrocities.
He is a poisonous anke as bad as Maumoon. Change your opinion sir.
Shimy.. you nitwit, what has Bransons's flleing of the country gotta do with his call for democracy? There are hypocrites in the Maldives itself looting money in front of you, silently like a cat licking milk. Have the guts to chastise them before you take pot shots at an international philanthropist!
Mariyam Zulfa's secret boyfriend.
@Shimy on Fri, 25th Oct 2013 3:06 AM said:
"Waheed has fled(really??)! Sir Branson has fled to his own Carribean Tax haven! Where do you intend to flee in the coming days!!"
(1) Waheed has fled, if you haven't heard already. Now, after first announcing that he went on a "holiday", his office has revised that to say he went for medical treatment and a holiday with his family. So what changed? Did he get ill on his "holiday"?
(2) It's not Sir Branson, you idiot! It's Sir Richard, now bow your head! Anyway, his tax affairs are between him and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and nothing to do with us.
(3) I have no intention of fleeing anywhere. My homeland is Suvadheeb and that's where I intend to stay!
I see in CNM that Waheed is now having medical treatment in SINGAPORE accompanied by his wife. Not a holiday as suggested by his office.
Medical treatment can be prolonged indefinitely and therefore avoiding having to install Ahmed Hamza.
Lets hope in fact he has seen which way the political wind is blowing and he has decided to flee.
Whatever the reason he is a slimy cowardly asshole.
I wondered if Branson's praise of Waheed was genuine? Or perhaps he believes that by being positive towards Waheed's image he can gain a little diplomatic leverage in pushing Waheed to struggle for free and fair elections ASAP.
But I really think that Branson does think highly of Waheed. But, Waheed needs to be aware that he needs to fight for free and fair elections ASAP to salvage the little positive reputation Waheed has left amongst the International Community. There is still time for Waheed to come out looking like the good guy, though by running away, it really is seeming less and less likely.
Come on Waheed, please!
SAD that Waheed is in hospital.
I hope and pray that Waheed is not in a serious condition in hospital, so that he can live on to fight for free and fair elections and condemn the judiciary and the tyranny of the PPM.
Call me the most naïve person in the world if you will, you would not be wrong, but I still hope Waheed can help bring free and fair elections.
Surely, the good part of Waheed which loves his people's freedom will overcome his personal hatred for Anni, born from wounded pride, even if that hatred is justifiable in itself.
I sound like a naïve lunatic I know but, when I read about the suffering Waheed's Family have been through for freedom, I just cannot accept that Waheed could die as an accomplice to tyranny. His family and their pain - and the ultimate spiritual goodness which comes from all undeserved suffering MUST be in his heart - in his soul...somewhere!
Richard, keep your business to yourself we had enough colonialist like you telling us what to do. Why don't you tell your leaders in the UK to stop British neo nazi groups from he raising minorities including Maldivians living in the UK, do it if you truly care about Maldives, speck with one face.
Yeah yeah, Sir Breadson, Fleesome or whatever!!!
And i have heard this fleeing bit one two many by the MDPians! After the so very famous coup, they have advertised everyone from Maumoon to ministers of fleeing the country but everyone is here.(I wish they would including seyku Anni.
However i know some people like alcohol addict Zaki and Debt ridden Gabur, umm, Gabir, who fled the country for some time to avoid the police! Suppose you are talking about them!!??
Guess we now know who the nit wit is? You did not get the point, did you?
Guess the word TAX HAVEN did not do the trick??
People loot money everywhere?? The developed countries do this very neatly and quietly? Everyday banks get fined for billions and millions!
Just look at the latest cases?? Then, what do you expect from this broken down one??
Why is this guy trying so hard to sympathize with the phoney, puppet of Maldives.
Ironically he showed his true colours just hours after Branson posted about him on his blog by fleeing.
And i like being called an idiot??guess calling a human an idiot is better than calling one; your majesty- the queen, your lord- the king, my lord, your highness-the queen (just as they do in sir Richards home country) Guess for Brits, their lord is their Queen??
@Atari on Fri, 25th Oct 2013 11:36 PM
"Why don’t you tell your leaders in the UK to stop British neo nazi groups from he raising minorities including Maldivians living in the UK, do it if you truly care about Maldives, speck with one face."
(1) A Maldivian living in the UK has more God given rights than they will ever have in the Maldives in the near future!
(2) When was the last time an Islamic Sheikh got hacked to death outside his house in the UK and the murderers were not brought to justices?
(3) When was the last time the UK Police stopped a general election?
(4) Did the UK Supreme Court EVER have a filthy-fornicating-with-prostitutes "justice" sitting on its bench?
(5) The total Muslim population of the UK is bigger than the entire population of the Maldives. How many of those British Muslims died at the hands of your so-called "neo nazi groups"? How many Maldivians have died at the hands of their 100% Muslim brethren?
You really are trying to paint a pure picture of this colonial bug of a country? and that also for some majesty the old hag- queen!
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And the mentioning of hacking to death is laughable!
You should have researched the latest hacking of a soldier in Woolich which appears to be 100% made up by the M16. Call me stupid and ignorant or whatever!!
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