The former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, displayed admirable restraint as new President Waheed Hassan finally got his act together, named a new Cabinet, and embarked on a Himalayan task of making the national unity government work.
Even as a “unity” mantra began reverberating in the corridors of power in Male, it was clear that the country has been divided: there is now a pro-Nasheed population and an anti-Nasheed population (which is being seen, by some quarters, as people who are pro-Gayoom). Quite a few from the earlier era are back in power, including a few India baiters.
The first appointment done was that of the Attorney General. Uza Aishath Azima Shakooru, AG during Mr. Gayoom's tenure is back. She took the oath office before the Supreme Court Judge Judge Abdulla Areef.
Leaving aside three Ministries, including that of the crucial Islamic Affairs, Dr. Waheed on Sunday appointed representatives from three parties to the six berths. This takes the total number of Ministers in the Cabinet to eight. The largest Opposition party, the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), has three members; Mr. Gayoom's newly-founded Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has two (including the AG). One slot each has been given to the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) and the Jumhoory Party. Two other Ministers are former officials, who have a proven track record on their fields.
Dr. Waheed has kept the remaining slots in a bid to encourage Mr. Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members to join the new government. MDP sources said Mr. Nasheed was opposed to the idea of joining the government though he has been encouraged to do so from various quarters, including a few members of the international community.
The MDP patience lasted till evening. A group of MPs arrived at the People's Majlis with their supporters to meet the Speaker and demand the release of a party MP, who was detained in Addu. The supporters outside raised slogans for his release.
The police moved in and, after making several appeals, pushed the protesters from the roads leading to the Majlis.
The police also set up barricades across some prominent places in Male to keep it free of protesters.