President Waheed to leave Maldives indefinitely two days before elections

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan is to depart the Maldives indefinitely on Thursday night.

Speaking to Haveeru, Waheed said he will be accompanying First Lady Ilham Hussein on a medical visit to Singapore. Although he said he would come back to the Maldives, he did not specify a return date.

On Sunday, an hour before his presidency expired, Waheed declared he would remain as head of state until run off polls take place on November 16.

“I do not think there is much I can do from here, things that I cannot do over the phone,” Waheed told Haveeru.

President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad said he “wasn’t aware of any upcoming trips”.

Waheed was President Mohamed Nasheed’s deputy and came to power after Nasheed resigned alleging coup d’état in February 2012.

Speaking to the press today, Nasheed said Waheed was unlikely to resign on Saturday as promised.

“Now, I do not think President Waheed is going to resign on the 16th. I hear he is leaving the Maldives on the 14th. I think he is leaving on the 14th and will not resign on the 16th. And while abroad, he will say say he is the head of state. And the Supreme Court, the police and military will govern here,” he said.

He pointed to the Maldives being ruled in the name of Abdul Majeed Rannabandeyri Kilegefaanu for eight years, starting in 1944, although the monarch was living in Egypt at the time.

The US, UK and the Commonwealth have condemned Waheed’s decision to stay on and called for the November 16 run-offs to proceed as planned.

“This action has endangered the Maldivian people’s right to elect a leader of their choice,” stated the US Embassy in Colombo.

Cabinet ministers revealed on Monday that Waheed had arrived at the President’s Office late on Sunday evening prepared to resign and hand over power to the Speaker of Parliament, as stipulated by Article 124 of the constitution, but claimed to have convinced him otherwise. His Vice President, Waheed Deen, had resigned that morning.

Minivan News understands that defence chiefs arrived at the President’s Office prior to Waheed’s address to the nation, initially scheduled for 10:30pm on Sunday. The address was delayed an hour, before Waheed appeared and said he would resign on November 16, the date scheduled for the delayed run-off vote.

After making the statement, Waheed and his wife were escorted off Male to the presidential retreat of Aarah, as violent protests erupted in the capital.

The couple returned to the Maldives on Monday, and moved out of the official presidential residence at Hilaleege. They are currently residing in the First Lady’s house in Malé.

Nasheed has accused Waheed of collaborating with former president of 30 years, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, to destroy the independence and sovereignty of the Maldives.

“Regardless, when the second round ends, due to the joy and hopes that come with the results, it will be very difficult for a few people to turn it in any another direction. This is what happened in 2008,” Nasheed said.