Nasheed calls for Waheed to resign, transitional government to oversee elections under Speaker before Nov 11

Former President Mohamed Nasheed and the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have called for President Dr Mohamed Waheed to resign, allowing a transitional government under the Speaker of Parliament to oversee elections.

Police yesterday surrounded the Elections Commission in the early hours of the morning and forcibly prevented it from proceeding with the scheduled election, in the apparent absence of explicit orders to do so from either the courts or the executive. Police had previously obstructed run-off elections due to be held on September 28.

Chief Superintendent Abdulla Nawaz told press yesterday that police had “made the decision ourselves” after “seeking advice” from, among others, President Waheed and Attorney General Azima Shukoor. Nawaz did not respond to questions as to whether police had the authority to halt the election, or whether they accepted they were stepping beyond the boundaries of their mandate.

“After we won the first round of elections handsomely on September 7 it became clear to our opponents that they don’t have the support of the people of the country, especially Dr Waheed, who ended up with five percent of the vote,” Nasheed told foreign reporters in Male on Sunday morning.

“We do not now feel it is possible to have an election with Dr Waheed as president, Mohamed Nazim as Defence Minister, and Abdulla Riyaz as the Commissioner of Police,” he said.

“It has become very evident that they have obstructed these elections, and very evident that they are trying to take this country into an unconstitutional void, and then capture long term, unelected military power,” he added.

Asked by reporters whether the MDP would take part in an election without President’s Waheed’s resignation, he confidently replied: “If he doesn’t, you can rest assured that there won’t be an election. They might announce it, but there won’t be an election.”

The government yesterday was pushing the Elections Commission to reschedule a third attempt at elections next week on November 26, however Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek said it would take at least 21 days to re-register the tens of thousands of voters returning home after the Eid holidays.

Thowfeek did raise the possibility of elections on November 9, just two days before the end of the presidential term on November 11 – the deadline for constitutional and potentially international recognition of the present government’s legitimacy.

“We believe that the only prudent way forward, and possible solution for the situation, is for Dr Waheed to today resign and the Speaker of Parliament to take over government before November 11 and until the election,” said Nasheed.

“We want elections to be held under this [environment], and not under the unelected, unrepresentative rule of Dr Waheed. This is our view. We don’t see any reason why there should be any more negotiation on an election date or any such issue, but rather we feel Dr Waheed should resign, and Abdulla Shahid take over,” Nasheed said.

“We feel this must happen in the next few days as time is running out.”

President Mohamed Waheed raised the prospect of resignation himself in an interview yesterday with The Hindu, stating that while it was not in the interest of the country “to have an election forced on it”, he had no interest in remaining in power beyond 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.

Waheed – who has withdrawn from the election – said he was confident he would be able to convince all candidates to participate by threatening his resignation. If they did not, “I will tell them I will resign, and then, so will the Vice-President. After that, the responsibility will fall on the Speaker [to assume office],” Waheed said.

Speaker Abdulla Shahid told Minivan News: “It’s quite clear from the statements made by the police and executive that they halted yesterday’s scheduled election. The President has to take responsibility for that.”

“The constitution is quite clear on the responsibilities of the Speaker [should the president resign]. As speaker I will always carry out my constitutional duties,” he said.

Protests and international assistance

Sit-down protests that sprang up across Male yesterday following the police obstruction of elections were not planned by the Maldivian Democratic Party, Nasheed said.

“The people came out. It is going to build up. If the MDP doesn’t give leadership to these protests, we will soon see them get out of hand,” Nasheed said.

He dismissed the prospect of the MDP encouraging violent protests, noting that “of the 40-odd struggles for democracy across the world in the last century, only four have succeeded through violence.”

“I think it is very evident that a capacity for violence is not necessarily going to give us the success or democracy that we want. I think the capacity for resilience, and to withhold, will give us better results. We will have that struggle,” he said.

“We will go for direct action and peaceful political activity. We will beg the international community to assist us. We will always request well-wishers to be party in the democratic struggle in the Maldives,” Nasheed added.

Many rank-and-file members of the police and military were supportive of the MDP, if not the democratic process, he observed.

“The rank and file are well with us. There was one ballot box specifically for police and military, in Addu Gan. We got 70 percent in it. The vast majority of the police and military are voting for us,” Nasheed said.

He said the party was not interested in instigating a conflict between the security forces, noting that this would have a “a very serious effect on Indian Ocean stability.”

Nasheed appealed to the international community to step up its assistance with election logistics.

“I don’t think asking for an election to be secure is asking for an invasion or meddling with the internal affairs of the Maldives. We are simply asking for assistance with the logistics of holding an election. If you see this as foreign intervention, then that is a reflection on how xenophobic you yourself are,” Nasheed said.

“The international community have assisted with other logistics such as printing and IT. All in all the US has spent US$3 million, about the same as the Commonwealth, and probably the Indian government. We only asking them to assist the Elections Commission with logistics, and distributing and safeguarding ballot boxes.

“What more honourable request can a country make than asking for help with an election? We are not asking the international community to bomb anyone. We are simply asking them to look after the boxes, and left the people decide what they want,” Nasheed said.

He said he also hoped for “more robust international engagement to make sure that these important transitional arrangements are made. We don’t think we ourselves alone can overcome this.”

“We must isolate Waheed. He was the main instigator of the coup and he got away with toppling an elected government. He has nullified the first round of elections, nullified a very successful second round election, and yesterday nullified a repeat of the first round. The list goes on,” Nasheed said.

The MDP would be meeting on Sunday afternoon to decide on specific action to take, he noted.

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Waheed threatens candidates with resignation should they not agree to polls: The Hindu

Under siege by the international community for failing to hold the re-scheduled first round of Presidential polls on Saturday, Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed said that it was “in the interest of the country that an election was not forced” on it, in an interview with R. K. Radhakrishnan of The Hindu.

So did police overreach its mandate in holding the Elections Commission officials hostage early on Saturday morning? “Clearly the police also felt that they were also breaking the law if they went ahead. And we believe that in the greater interest of peace and security, it is important for us to have better consensus among the candidates and the institutions so that we can have a peaceful election,” he said.

Mr Waheed said he had stayed away from leading the poll process since he was candidate in the first round. “Until now I was in the backseat. Now, I feel I have to give more direction and help the process,” he said, and added that a new President will be elected and he will take office by November 11.

He would work to make the poll process free, fair and inclusive. He said that he would be able to convince all candidates to agree. If they did not, he said he would use the resignation card: “I will tell them I will resign, and then, so will the Vice-President. After that, the responsibility will fall on the Speaker [to assume office as President as per the Maldivian Constitution].”

Asked if he will stay on after November 11 in a scenario where the elections have not been held, he said: “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.”

Full story

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Supreme Court orders Elections Commission to restart re-registration process

The Supreme Court opened at midnight on Thursday to issue a ruling ordering the Elections Commission (EC) to restart the entire elections re-registration process.

“[The Supreme Court] orders the Elections Commission to start anew the process of compiling the voter registry and abide by the Supreme Court guidelines in the re-registration process for those who individuals who wish to vote in a location other than their place of domicile, and start anew re-registration process according to new procedures, disregarding previous re-registration,” read a verdict posted on the Supreme Court’s website.

The court also ordered the Elections Commission to give candidates the choice whether to stay on the ballot paper or withdraw from the election, contrary to the EC’s previous announcement.

“Elections Commission’s announcements (A) EA-2013/539 and (A) EA-2013/540 [concerning the re-registration process] contravene the guidelines put forth in the Supreme Court Verdict no 2013/SC-C/42,” read the ruling, signed by Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz.

“The Elections Commission must without further justifications proceed according to the guidelines put forth in the Supreme Court Verdict no 2013/SC-C/42,” the ruling stated.

The PPM today sought an order at the Supreme Court blocking Nasheed’s legitimacy to contest the election on the grounds of his criticising the judiciary and being “irreligious”, although this appeared to split the party, with State Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon declaring it was “not the right time”.

According to local media, the PPM also requested the court order the annulment of the voters’ list used in the first round on September 7, threatening that the party would not accept the result if the existing list was used. Prior to the first round, the PPM had called on the Elections Commission to make the voter registration process “more lenient”, requesting the EC not to reject voter registration forms missing details such as the name of a voter’s parents or a phone number, that could not be verified during random checks.

The 17 member Commonwealth election observation team in particular praised the final voter registry, describing it as “accurate and robust”.

“Fears expressed by some political parties regarding possible large numbers of deceased voters and voters registered in the wrong geographic area seem to be unfounded, based on the low incidence of election day complaints,” said the group’s head, former Prime Minister of Malta Dr Lawrence Gonzi.

The verdict

In its verdict on the Jumhooree Party’s case annulling the first round of the election, the court ordered the EC to hold an election by October 20, requiring the commission to prepare for polls as the government shuts down for the Eid al-Adha break.

The EC scheduled the election for Saturday October 19, sending the ballots for printing on October 9 and opening the list on October 10 for re-registration.

In a statement on October 9, Transparency Maldives noted that the Elections Commission had yet to receive the details of the Supreme Court verdict regarding the supposed discrepancies noted in the secret police report, between the voter registry and voting records (such as the claimed ID card number mismatches, permanent address mismatches, and name mismatches).

The Supreme Court’s majority ruling this week to annul the first round contradicted the positive assessments of more than a thousand local and international election observers, and hinged on a confidential police report submitted to the court claiming that 5623 votes were ineligible.

The report has not been made public and the legal counsel of the Elections Commission was never given the opportunity to present a counter argument.

In the majority verdict, Supreme Court Judge Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi also declared that if a new president was unable to be sworn in on conclusion of the presidential term on November 11, the “principle of continuity of legitimate government would override any repercussions faced by failure to adhere to constitutional deadlines.”

The latest Supreme Court ruling follows a statement from UK Foreign Secretary William Hague stating that “It is imperative that there are no further delays and the elections be free, fair and inclusive, and that international observers are invited.”

“ It is important now that the democratic process proceeds in accordance with the Constitution,” Hague stated, calling on presidential candidates to respect the democratic process “and create conditions for free, fair elections.”

PPM MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News that he believed the latest order would mean additional delays to the voting, currently scheduled for October 19.

With growing international pressure for voting to take place without further delay, Nihan claimed that the party believed that the 24 hours for re-registration provided by the EC would have been a “disaster” for the election.

“Even here in Male’ no one was aware of what was going on [regarding re-registration],” he said, adding that the occasion of the Eid holidays had meant voters were expected to be more likely to want to vote on different islands from where they were registered: “I am sure it is important to let everyone else have the right to vote in free and fair elections. The verdict clearly says the EC has to perform within guidelines,” he said.

Nihan claimed the views of various international groups such as the UN and Commonwealth reflected the MDP’s stronger connections with foreign governments, whom he accused of believing the views of the opposition party without listening to others.

“The international community are champions of democracy and we have to thank them for efforts to spread it throughout all corners of the globe,” he said. “However, the EU and Commonwealth must make sure they are getting the proper and full information from all sides including the government and opposition as well.”
Meanwhile earlier today Sun Online reported that one of the five EC members, Ogaru Ibrahim Waheed, had suddenly resigned.

According to Sun no reason was given, although ongoing death threats received by the Elections Commission (EC)’s permanent staff and polling station officials have prompted the commission to file a report with the Maldives Police Service (MPS).

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Security concerns preoccupy polls, says the Guardian and the BBC

Results of today’s presidential election may improve stability not only in the Maldives, but across the Islamic world, reports UK media The Guardian.

“I’ve always said that what happens in Maldives first, happens in the Middle East later,” candidate and former president Mohamed Nasheed told reporters in Male’ earlier this week.

Nasheed’s statement is reciprocated by intensified attention from regional powers, reports the Guardian. Citing India’s commercial and diplomatic ties with the archipelago, and Sri Lanka’s “cultural and other ties”, the publication adds that “China too is keenly interested in developments in the strategically situation island nation.”

The country has pushed for new growth in recent years, however international media note that basic security is a concern for voting Maldivians.

“‘Some Maldivians appear nostalgic for the stability of the long decades of [former president Maumoon Abdul] Gayoom’s rule, particularly elements of the security forces,” writes The Guardian, noting that Maldives Police Chief Abdulla Riyaz thanked Gayoom for founding national police services via Twitter six days ago.

BBC News received similar information from Transparency Maldives, a branch of Transparency International. Group representative Thoriq Hamed said the four candidates had campaigned “smoothly and peacefully,” but stated that there remains “some apprehension and confidence issues about the security forces.”

Other key issues in today’s presidential election highlighted by foreign media include religion, nationalism, gender equality, education and the economy.

Both publications observe that last year’s change in leadership sparked political unrest and generated anxiety over the negative impact on the country’s vital tourism industry. The presidential election is the second multi-party democratic election in the nation’s history, and the first since February 2012’s controversial transfer of power.

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Comment: Conspiracy of silence over GMR arbitration

Amidst the high decibel of the election campaign, it is easy to completely miss out on some critical issues.

This seems to have happened last week, when the Maldives Airport Company Limited (MACL) recorded an early loss in its legal battle with GMR over [President Dr Mohamed] Waheed’s government’s decision to terminate the Male airport concession agreement. There has been no word or confirmation from the Waheed government on this and his eager-than-ever spokespersons are nowhere to be found. This is especially interesting since they have been more than keen to take any credit they can on the entire airport saga.

Per a report in Minivan News, this is an “early legal skirmish” for GMR in its $1.4Bn claim against Government of Maldives and MACL for illegal termination of its concession agreement in December last year. In one of the earlier comment pieces in this same publication, it has been argued how the termination was a political decision, not an economic decision and how politicisation of the airport by Waheed and his ex-allies is systematically destroying our national asset. This latest news now is all the more concerning and I am certainly surprised to see that it hasn’t been picked up by any of the other newspapers which leads me to believe many people didn’t realize what this may mean for us as a nation.

While Minivan News hasn’t highlighted their source for this judicial order. I wish they had.  In this column I will highlight what I believe are the implications of this order.

Legal setback – arbitration panel leaning away from MACL?

No doubt this is a major setback for Waheed and his Attorney General, Azima Shukoor. Waheed’s government has lost the first round of the battle and the first blood has gone to the other side. The judicial order provides early indications as to which way the arbitration panel may be leaning based on the arguments that they have heard from both parties till now.

Waheed government could not convince the tribunal members on the right way to proceed with the case and this would certainly make one nervous about whether they will be able to convince the panel about their legal position that the contract is void. We have to keep in mind that members of the government and their allies were publicly criticising the deal, protests were being staged against GMR and cries of nationalisation were being made just before Azima suddenly pulled the rabbit out of the hat and claimed that there was no contract all this while!

Details of the political campaign run by members of the government are in the public domain, and they raise questions as to whether the contract was invalid or if the lawyers were asked to find ways of canceling it.

Certainty of compensation by Maldives for termination?

The most important part of the article that the tribunal has discussed is awarding three different types of claims according to which way the panel decides on the legal question of whether the contract was void ab initio or not: “GMR-MAHB’s claim for compensation as per the termination clause of its concession agreement, its parallel claim for loss of profits over the lifespan of the agreement due to its termination, and the government’s counter-claim for restitution should the tribunal decide in its favour”. If one thinks deeply about it, this doesn’t sound like good news at all for Waheed and Azima, or for our nation.

If we lose the legal arguments, we will be faced with a US$1.4 billion claim that we may have to pay for how the airport contract was terminated. However, if Azima wins the legal arguments in the panel then it’s the restitution claims that will be relevant. Otherwise, the contract itself has some termination clauses and this is the third type of claim that may be awarded by the panel based on legal arguments. Let’s look at each of these three claims one by one.

GMR’s US$1.4 billion claim is what it is and we will have to wait and watch if they are awarded this claim. The more interesting aspect is what the panel seems to have said on the other two types of claims.

On the termination payments per the contract, I am all but reminded that in a press conference last year Azima herself said that if the contract is cancelled, we may have to pay GMR anywhere between US$600-700 million in compensation. Given that Azima has been maintaining that Nasheed’s government did not do any due diligence while procuring the contract, whereas she has done extensive due diligence before canceling the contract, I am tempted to take her word on the estimated cost of termination. Hence, in this case, we may have to pay GMR around US$600-700 million.

Now, for the worst part and which Azima has argued in court: in case we win the legal arguments in court, the panel will decide for restitution. If one quickly goes to Wikipedia and understands what restitution refers to in legal terms, it means “orders the defendant to give up his/her gains to the claimant… to restore the benefit conferred to the non-breaching party”.

In essence, if restitution is done in this case, the government will have to give back all the money that GMR brought to Maldives with them to invest and GMR will have to give back what they got from Maldives. Even some quick ‘back-of-the-envelope’ calculations reveal that this would still mean paying around US$240 million to GMR!

If one believes their statements that they have already invested ~US$240 million in the airport, then this money will need to be given back to GMR. At the same time, they have also said that they haven’t taken investment out of the airport and whatever they earned was put back in the airport. Hence, we are still looking at a claim of US$240 million that we may need to give GMR even if we win the legal case!

Conspiracy of silence?

During his controversy-ridden reign in which he has lost allies one by one, Waheed has taken a number of suspect decisions which he has been too happy to slip under the carpet. He perhaps thought that the decision to axe the airport contract was a populist decision and he had probably hoped that it would bring him back to power.

This is why his spokespersons as well as the AG were trigger-happy to announce that nothing will happen in the arbitration before next year – “since there is no valid contract, there can be no compensation”.

Now, this early legal setback– which may cost us millions of dollars in damages even if we win the arbitration– has laid bare all the arguments that Azima gave when the contract was cancelled. The shallowness of her arguments has now left the nation with a US$240 million bill in the best case, and more than a billion dollars at worst! So much for the “legal due diligence and advice of foreign lawyers” that she received.

No wonder that there has been no word from the government on this so far. This may be either because they have nothing to say given the early setback that they have received or they would rather push this under the rug and hope they can get through the elections without making any comment which may jeopardise their chances. At the end of it, they seem to have taken advantage of a tight election schedule to hide without giving any explanations whatsoever!

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]

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Cabinet’s convention centre re-zoning “for political gain”: Addu City Mayor

The Cabinet has advised President Mohamed Waheed Hassan to overturn the previous government’s decision to make the Addu Equatorial Convention Center (ECC) zone an ‘uninhabited area’, potentially allowing the sale of prohibited commodities such as liquor, as practiced for resorts.

The area was designated ‘uninhabited’ on November 19, 2011 by former president and current presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed.

Yesterday’s recommendation originated in the Finance Ministry, which submitted a paper on the subject during Monday’s cabinet meeting, the president’s office reports.

Spokespersons at the President’s Office said they could not provide details on the recommendation; Addu City Mayor Abdullah Sodig reports that the council was not consulted on or informed of the Cabinet’s recommendation, and claims that it was made for political gain in the face of this Saturday’s presidential elections.

“The Cabinet recommendation opposes Nasheed’s [tourism development] policy, and they want to show the public that they are trying to give land to people who need it. But it’s really just political gain,” Sodig said. “Three days before elections, I don’t think it’s about giving people land.”

Zoning laws in the Maldives determine which islands and areas may be developed for tourism and therefore exempted from national laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol and pork and enforcing compliance with cultural dress codes. Maldives’ southern atolls, including Addu and nearby Gnaviyani atoll, have historically benefited the least from the country’s tourism economy.

President Nasheed decreed the ECC zone uninhabited prior to the 2011 SAARC summit in Addu, effectively laying a foundation for resort, guest house and other tourism-oriented development activities.

Nearly two years since this decree the mood has shifted dramatically. Bids to develop the convention center and surrounding area were interrupted by the February 7, 2012 transfer of power, after which the new administration retained the building as a “national asset”.

Formerly enthusiastic about Addu’s growth potential, Sodig today expressed deep frustration with the government’s inaction.

“[The Convention Center] is never dusted, the toilets are never cleaned, the floors never polished,” he said, adding that the facility has only been used for a few wedding parties and political rallies since it opened in November 2011.

Sodig claimed that his repeated requests for maintenance funds and development activity had received minimal response from President Waheed’s government.

“I took the State Minister of Housing to the building and asked him to look into maintenance. I even met with the Attorney General, Azima Shukoor, for the same purpose in Male,” said Sodig. “She said she would think about it. But until now they have done nothing.”

Sodig reports that without tourism development the ECC, which as of January was mired in MVR 4 million ($260,078) of unpaid electricity bills, “would end up as a liability”. As of June, the Maldivian government owed State Electricity Company (STELCO) MVR 543 million ($35.2) in unpaid electricity bills.

The Cabinet’s sudden action this week suggests that the ECC zone is now being treated as a pawn in the housing debate for the presidential elections. Addu Atoll is home to a significant percentage of the population, and has historically supported President Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

In 2002, 700 ECC-zone land plots were allocated to Adouin families. According to the mayor, only 150 plots have been officially registered as ‘in use’. In an atoll where the average household income is MVR 60,000 ($3,900) per year, the approximate cost of building a two-bedroom home is MVR300,000 ($19,500).

While Adduans who received land in the ECC zone objected to President Nasheed’s zoning decree in 2011, they were content with the island council’s compensatory proposal, Sodig said. He added that he was not aware of any recent complaints that might have triggered the Cabinet to recommend zoning reversal.

The ministries of Finance and Housing had not responded to calls at time of press.

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Translation: Leaked ‘coup agreement’

The following translation is of a document apparently signed and stamped by then opposition political parties on December 29, 2011, outlining a planned overthrow of the Nasheed government on February 24, 2012. Nasheed resigned amid a police-led mutiny on February 7, 2012.  Parties involved have rejected the document’s authenticity – read the full story here.

Download the original document in Dhivehi

1. Introduction

As the current President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed of G. Keneryge, has disrespected Islam as well as the country’s laws and regulations, declared blatantly anti-Islamic sentiments, obstructed the enforcement of Islamic hadd [punishments] in the Maldives, carried out laadheenee (irreligious or secular) actions, illegally arrested politicians, committed many acts that undermine the dignity of the country’s courts, and since the fraternal political groups have determined that he is unfit to remain as President of the Maldives, this agreement is made among the fraternal political groups to remove him completely from Maldivian politics and do what is required to completely erase the Christian-influenced Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) from the Maldivian political arena.

2. The fraternal political groups

  1. Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)
  2. Civil Alliance
  3. Adhaalath Party
  4. Jumhooree Party
  5. Dhivehi Qaumee Party
  6. Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DQP)
  7. People’s Alliance

3. Plan for the 24 February 2012 Symposium

3.1 Purpose of the symposium

The purpose of the symposium on 24 February 2012 is to make it a day of civil obedience across the Maldives with the aim of toppling the MDP government and establishing a national unity government formed among the fraternal political groups. And to overthrow the government within 24 hours of the beginning of the symposium.

As the fraternal political groups believe that it is important to carry this out in a way that would avoid foreign influence in Maldivian political affairs brought about because of the manner of changing the government, it has been agreed that this can be conducted most smoothly with the assistance of Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik. Therefore, the first order of business has to be worsening the relationship between MDP and the vice president, seeking the approval of senior figures of the vice president’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party and his close associates and bringing them into this.

The assurance needed from the vice president is that he will immediately assume the office of the presidency if Nasheed leaves the post under any circumstances, form a national unity government on the advice of the fraternal political groups, endure everything faced during this process, conduct the affairs of the nation until the presidential election in 2013, pave the way for the 2013 election, and not contest in the election in 2013.

The assurance that the fraternal political groups will give to the vice president will be to provide any and all assistance that he may require in this. And provide the assurance that he will remain in power until 11 November 2013.

3.2 How the government will be changed

At 4 o’clock in the afternoon of Friday, 24 February 2012, a mass protest in the form of symposium will begin in all inhabited islands of the country. The protest will begin in Male’ at the tsunami memorial area. After the protest begins, a demand from the participants will be proposed to the government. The only demand of this protest will be for President Mohamed Nasheed of G. Keneryge to resign without any conditions as he has insulted Islam and violated the laws of the country.

3.3.1 Going to Republic Square

The government will give a deaf ear to the demand for resignation. Therefore, after offering a five-hour period to comply with the demand, at 9 o’clock at night the participants of the protest will head towards the Republic Square divided into three groups. It has been agreed that protests will take place in all inhabited islands at this time.

The first group with Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla will go past Kalhuthuhkala Koshi [military barracks near southwest harbour] on Boduthakurufaanu Magu and stop near MMA west of the Republic Square.

[Text missing]

The third group with PPM interim deputy leader, Umar Naseer, will leave the tsunami memorial area in vehicles, go down Majeedhee Magu, turn near mercury to Orchid Magu and stop near Reefside at the intersection of Republic Square and Chandanee Magu.

Help will be received from former police and army officers to overcome obstacles posed by police and the army to the protesters reaching these areas. PPM interim deputy leader, Umar Naseer, will coordinate this.

3.3.2 Showing stringency

After all the participants of the protest gather at the areas surrounding the Republic Square, Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla will address the police from the group near the MMA [building]. The Sheikh’s speech will mostly focus on Mohamed Nasheed’s laadheenee [irreligious or secular] ideology and convincing police and the army that obeying the commands of such a person with a laadheenee ideology is completely haram [forbidden] in Islam. The Sheikh along with different scholars will speak on this subject for 45 minutes.

After that, Abdulla Mohamed, representing the civil groups, and other civil society persons will give speeches.  Their speeches will mostly focus on stability in the Maldives, establishing justice and the economy under Nasheed’s rule. They will speak on this topic for 45 minutes.

After the speeches by the civil society persons, the first person to talk from among the politicians in the group gathered in front of Reefside will be PPM interim deputy leader Umar Naseer. Umar Naseer will begin his speech by calling on those in the front ranks of the government to join the protesters as President Mohamed Nasheed has not resigned by the time the period offered to him had elapsed. An opportunity will be offered to those in the front ranks of the police and army to either resign or step aside from their posts. The speeches will be interrupted for 30 minutes to provide an opportunity for these officers to do so.

It is not expected that cooperation will be forthcoming within 30 minutes from those working in the senior ranks of the police. However, a brigadier general and a lieutenant colonel from the military has agreed to vacate their posts and refuse to carry out their responsibilities. This will be first announced via DhiTV. And a live interview with the resigned brigadier general will be brought on DhiTV. After this news, Umar Naseer’s speech will resume to raise the spirit of the protesters and divide the ranks of the police and the army. And he will call for the protesters to step forward and for the police and army to step back. The protesters will clash with police and attempt to enter the Republic Square by force.

3.3.3 Receiving the assistance of police

While the protesters face the police and army with severity, the special platoon of police on duty in front of MMA will abandon their command, enter the Republic Square and sit down in protest. At this time, some protesters will get an opportunity to enter the Republic Square. However, it is believed that an MNDF [Maldives National Defence Force] backup will cordon off the area.

Complete assurance has been received from friendly police that this police platoon will be arranged to be on duty in front of MMA. The PPM deputy leader has met the officers of this platoon individually and briefed them on what they have to do. Their demands have now been taken care of.

Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfan will announce on MNBC One that the striking or protesting police have disobeyed orders and that they will be arrested and taken inside Bandaara Koshi [main military headquarters in front of Republic Square]. A retired former colonel will communicate with the defence minister concerning this and provide assistance to him. PA parliamentary group leader, Ahmed Nazim, will monitor this.

3.3.4 Friendly police and friendly military playing their role

Following the arrest of the protesting police, a senior team of friendly police will begin working on their behalf. They will claim that the military cannot arrest police and request discussions between a senior police team and the defence ministry.  This team will comprise of 9 senior police officers and former police officers. When the defence ministry says that there is no room for negotiation regarding this, the team will command all police to abandon their command and gather at the Republic Square helipad.

[Text missing]

Police will be informed under the guidance of Umar Naseer. And all police will be informed via SMS. This will incite hatred of the police towards the military and the coordination established between police and the military will be lost. And at this time, protesters gathered near the Shaheed Hussain Adam building [police headquarters] will get the opportunity to break the barricade and enter the Republic Square. However, it is believed that the military will strongly look after the MMA and Reefside area.

3.3.5 Media and communication

The media will play the most important role at this juncture. DhiTV, DhiFM and VTV will claim that the police and the military are preparing for a major confrontation. And former senior police officers will call in the media for all police to go to the Republic Square in defence of their brothers.

Phones will be used as the primary mode of communication to carry this out. Friendly police will ensure by this time that communication-jamming facilities will be damaged beyond use. If phone calls and SMS are jammed due to any reason, messages that must be sent to police and the army will be delivered directly from DhiTV and DhiFM. Under such circumstances, these two media will become the primary communication and the communication coordination team will shift to the DhiTV studio.

3.3.6 Assistance from the military

As preparations would be underway for a major confrontation between police and the military, and because of the large number of police gathered at the Republic Square, the numbers of the military in Male’ at the time being small compared to the police, the police being in possession of non-lethal weapons, the most important power of the military being lethal weapons, and the fear of serious bloodshed in the country if the military uses lethal weapons against police, and after informing senior military officers of the superiority of police over the military, all of the military troops will be called on, with the assistance of the defence minister, to lay down their arms and join the protest.

It is believed that under the circumstances, with the situation brought to this [state], the military will have no other option and will accept the proposal. If they do not accept, the defence minister will do it forcefully.

3.3.7 Arresting Mohamed Nasheed

Following cooperation from the police and military, as it is the responsibility of the SPG [Special Protection Group] military officers to protect the president at such a time, Mohamed Nasheed will be taken out of Male’ by them under the pretence of protection. Mohamed Nasheed will be kept at Aarah [presidential retreat island] under military custody.

3.3.8 Supreme Court ruling that Mohamed Nasheed’s presidency is illegitimate

As the country’s order and stability would be lost with matters at this state, with the police and military clashing and the military not obeying Mohamed Nasheed’s command, a case will be filed at the Supreme Court requesting a ruling declaring that Nasheed has been found incapable of performing the duties of the President as there could be serious discord, unrest and bloodshed in the country if he remained in the post. Assurances have been received that the Supreme Court will issue such a ruling or court order to that effect when the case is filed.

The Supreme Court will sentence Nasheed to jail and bar him from politics for life because of the illegal activities committed while he was president, the allegations of efforts to wipe out Islam from the Maldives, and for the crime of illegally detaining politicians.

Filing the case at the Supreme Court and discussions concerning this matter will be carried out under the supervision of Qaumee Party President Dr Hassan Saeed. Dr Hassan Saeed and Ahmed Nazim from the People’s Alliance will carry out lobbying efforts to secure the support of a majority from the Supreme Court bench. Assurances have been given by PPM that Azima Shukoor will work to secure the assistance of the Chief Justice.

3.3.9 Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik taking the oath of office

Following the judgment of the Supreme Court passed upon Mohamed Nasheed, Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik will take the oath of office and become the president. After the swearing-in, Dr Mohamed Waheed will immediately dissolve the cabinet.

After the president dissolves the cabinet, the fraternal political groups together with the president will carry out forming a new cabinet and appointing ministers. The newly formed cabinet will comprise of 10 ministries. As the defence ministry and home ministry are important for national security, ministers will first be appointed for these two ministries. The two ministers that shall be appointed are,

  1. Defence Ministry. Appointing current Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfan to the post.
  2. Home Ministry. Appointing PPM interim deputy leader, Umar Naseer, on behalf of the party, as the Home Minister.

In addition, ministers will be appointed to the rest of the ministries on an equal basis among the fraternal political groups. And a vice president will be appointed as agreed upon by the fraternal political groups.

The following persons shall be appointed as the senior officers of the police and military,

  1. Retired Colonel Mohamed Nazim will be appointed to the post of Chief of Defence Force.
  2. Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz will be appointed to the post of Commissioner of Police.

4. Dissolving MDP’s political activities

As the fraternal political groups have agreed that exerting influence upon the current leadership of the MDP and taking over control of the MDP is of utmost importance, it has been agreed to do the following to dissolve the current MDP leadership,

4.1 MDP President Dr Ibrahim Didi

As Dr Ibrahim Didi is politically weak and not a political person despite being someone paving the way to advance politically, it has been noted that controlling MDP through Dr Didi will be easy. To this end, it has been decided to secure MDP’s presidential ticket for Dr Didi.

With the likelihood of MDP splitting being high as a result of the difficulties Dr Didi will face under his leadership from Mohamed Nasheed’s friends, Jumhooree Party Leader Gasim Ibrahim will provide assistance to Dr Didi at such a time.

[Text missing]

As Alhan Fahmy has been noted as someone with the capability of rallying and uniting MDP supporters in the absence of Mohamed Nasheed, it has been agreed that removing Alhan Fahmy from the MDP leadership is essential. It has also been noted that Alhan Fahmy does not have the opportunity of contesting in the 2013 election or becoming a vice presidential candidate.

It has been agreed that efforts to remove Alhan Fahmy from the MDP leadership will be carried out under the supervision of PA parliamentary group leader, Ahmed Nazim.

4.3 MDP interim chairperson Reeko Moosa Manik

It has been agreed that keeping MDP interim chairperson Reeko Moosa Manik in his post would be fine. It has been noted that there is room to forcefully do things through him by using the corruption cases involving his Heavy Load company and intimidating him through his business dealings.

As Moosa Manik is seen as someone who would contest for the MDP’s 2013 presidential ticket, he has been noted as a leader who has the approval of MDP’s common members. Therefore, it has been noted that Moosa Manik could be used in the efforts to divide MDP and create antagonism towards Dr Didi within the MDP. It has also been agreed that a group could be formed under Moosa Manik to protest against the new government and create unrest. It has been discussed that the end of MDP could be brought about through these protests.

4.4 MDP National Council

As Mohamed Nasheed directly controls the MDP’s National Council, it has been agreed that controlling the council and bribing members would be important. And it has been agreed to hold a meeting in the coming month of January to formulate a long-term plan to that end.

5. Securing finance

It has been calculated and agreed that a total of 43 (forty-three) million rufiyaa will have to be spent to complete the matters stated in this agreement and to fulfil the demands of the persons who will provide assistance. The funding will be secured through the political parties involved in this agreement and supportive businessmen. PA parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nazim will be tasked with collecting the funds and spending it in accordance with the agreement. And 20% (8.4 million rufiyaa) has been handed over to Nazim by the Jumhooree Party on 26 December 2011.

6. Maintaining secrecy

This agreement, the content of the agreement and any affairs conducted in connection with this agreement shall not be shared or revealed to anyone other than those who sign the agreement. As this is an agreement that is of utmost importance made in defence of Islam and the Maldives, it should be considered that safeguarding this agreement and the information contained therein is done in defence of Islam and the Maldives, and we agree to not share any of this with any other person.

7. Resolution

On this day, 29 December 2011, I agree with a sound mind and following extensive discussion to completely carry out the aforementioned matters, as they are necessary for the defence of Islam and the nation, with the involvement of everyone party to this agreement.

Download the original document in Dhivehi

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Maldives Decides 2013

Click to visit Maldives Decides 2013

Minivan News has launched ‘Maldives Decides 2013’, a hub of content concerning the four candidates competing in the 2013 presidential election.

Each candidate’s entry includes an overview of their recent political history with extensive links to relevant articles published by Minivan News, an overview of their policy positions, and a brief analysis of their support base.

The hub also includes an unofficial poll, links to Minivan News’ ongoing election coverage, and resources provided by the Maldives Elections Commission.

Additionally, all candidates have been sent and invited to respond to the following 10 questions, which will be published unedited as received:

  1. What about your personal experience makes you suitable to become President?
  2. What are the top three challenges facing the Maldives, and how do you intend to address these?
  3. Given the present state of the economy, how are you going to get the money to fulfill your pledges?
  4. Is there a need for judicial reform, and how do you intend to address the state of the judiciary should you be elected?
  5. How do you expect the events of 7 February 2012 to affect voter sentiment at the ballot box?
  6. Is Islamic fundamentalism a growing concern in the Maldives, and how should the government respond?
  7. What role should the international community play in the Maldives?
  8. Why should a woman vote for your party in the election?
  9. Why should a young person vote for your party in the election?
  10. What will the Maldives be like in 10 years time, should you be elected in September?

Minivan News hopes ‘Maldives Decides 2013’ is of value to its readers, and looks forward to a free, fair and inclusive election on September 7.

Visit Maldives Decides 2013


Feel free to discuss this project below, or send enquiries directly to [email protected]

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Supposed GCHQ tap of President, daughter, son-in-law discusses martial law, foreign worker voting, ‘smear campaigns’

Documents detailing an alleged tapped conversation between President Mohamed Waheed, his daughter Widhadh Waheed and her California-based husband, former Yahoo! executive Jeremy Goodrich, are circulating on Maldivian social media networks.

The documents (page 1, page 2), attributed to the UK’s electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ, are stamped ‘TOP SECRET STRAP 1’ and conform to the format of similar documents leaked during the recent NSA/GCHQ Edward Snowden scandal.

Official verification of the documents is impossible given the British government’s policy of not commenting on leaked classified material. A spokesperson for the British High Commission in Colombo stated “we do not comment on intelligence matters”. A spokesperson for GCHQ likewise told Minivan News, “in line with longstanding practice we never comment on intelligence matters.”

The document refers to the ‘Maldives June 2013 crisis’, and summarises an alleged 230 minute conversation between Waheed, his daughter and son-in-law, apparently intercepted on June 12.

According to the summary:

Mr Goodrich proposes concession to Adalath party in terms of allowing more Sharia law in addition to proposed punishments

Mr Goodrich suggests temporary martial law enforced from Aug 2013 to end of Dec 2013

Mr Goodrich advises the president on a number of campaign strategies, including addition of alien workers as temporary wards for voting purposes

Mr Goodrich advises on smear campaign against President Mohamed Nasheed and PPM party candidate Mr Yameen A Gayoom

Mrs Goodrich [Waheed’s daughter] suggest using social networks with marketing firm Rooster to “astroturf” a new “massive grassroot” support structure aimed at “winning hearts” of Maldivian citizens

Mr Goodrich suggests such efforts have failed previously and suggests exercising executive power

Mrs Goodrich and Mr Goodrich discuss pros and cons of both systems and come to conclusion on a hybrid system – as need arise

Dr Waheed states other coalition partners might be leaving, including DQP Party Leader Dr Hassan Saeed

Mr Goodrich asks if concessions could be given to DQP

Mrs Goodrich informs that DQP is not a long term risk and could be seen as collateral.

Dr Waheed states Adalath might join either PPM or JP

Mr Goodrich clarifies Adalath strength and suggests launching campaign to weaken leadership

Various discussion of proposed temporary martial law followed, ending with funding discussion followed by ‘NRTR’ discussions.

The document refers to an “embedded” source in the Maldives, whose identity is blacked out: “Malunet continues to furnish with highly detailed, high-value, sensitive reports on target and power structure and variances in a timely manner.”

According to the report, the “key focus has been on [the] President’s immediate power distribution and structure”. It highlights as of secondary concern a “flow of funds” to Norway via Italy.

“Funds transferred via IC/42 were intercepted at control point in Italy and further in Norway. A sum of USD 2,500,000.00 was noted in metadata. Later deposited into CHASE Bank, California, with IF: 4201840-22 and IC: 401-CHASE,” the report notes.

Response, context

The reference to ‘Rooster’ possibly refers to Rooster Creative Public Relations Ltd, which Waheed’s new government engaged in March 2012 to combat widespread negative headlines in the wake of the previous month’s power transfer, protests and police violence.

This attempt did receive some coverage in the British Media, with prominent columnist for the Daily Telegraph, Oliver Smith, writing, “The moral implications of visiting the Maldives have been called into question following the downfall of Mr Nasheed.”

The apparent leak of the GCHQ document meanwhile follows the departure last week of both the Adhaalath Party and Dr Hassan Saeed’s DQP from Waheed’s ‘Forward with the nation’ coalition.

Saeed, who was appointed Waheed’s Special Advisor following February 7 2012’s controversial transfer of power, resigned and joined Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhoree Party (JP) in what one coalition source described as a sudden and unexpected departure.

Saeed meanwhile in a statement accused Waheed of failing to take advice from coalition partners in favour of “family members and expatriates”.

President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad told Minivan News he was unaware of any leaked documents or such a conversation, but dismissed the suggestion that President Waheed would take advice from his children “on political matters” over his own views and those of First Lady Ilham Hussain.

Masood questioned the credibility of the documents, describing their publication on social media as being “one of those things” and comparing it to spurious pre-2008 election allegations raised against former President Nasheed, which alleged he was conspiring with Salisbury Cathedral in the UK to blow up the Islamic Centre and build a ‘victory church’.

Son-in-law

Minivan News has contacted Jeremy Goodrich seeking to confirm whether the conversation occurred and clarify the context of his suggestions to President Waheed, and was awaiting a response at time of press.

According to his twitter profile, the former Global (Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Leader for tech giant Yahoo! describes himself as a “bestselling self published author and digital mercenary” who is “passionately interested in a better tomorrow” and works “at the junction of social good and business profit.”

On professional networking website LinkedIn, he notes that his career highlights so far “include winning and or being nominated for prestigious marketing awards at large companies, being quoted in the Wall Street Journal on behalf of a startup I co-founded and being able to semi-retire to the tropics, travel and reflect on my career for more than a year.”

Goodrich has also self-published a 70-page novella on Amazon, illustrated by his wife Widhadh Waheed, titled ‘The Vampire Hangover’, about a martial artist who “starts his morning in a duel with a master swordsman. Afterwards he gets attacked by vampires, abused and beaten.”

A prospective sequel, ‘Ninja Vampire Hunter’, promises to include “a vampire, a djinni and a ninja, not to mention a cat fight filled with side splitting, ironically crafted innuendo.”

Read the leaked documents: Page 1, Page 2

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