Even as the former President, Mohamed Nasheed, and most of his party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, continued to press for elections, President Waheed Hassan Manik appointed Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's daughter Dhunya Maumoon to Cabinet on Sunday.
Mr. Gayoom, who ruled for about three decades, was ousted from power by Mr. Nasheed in the first democratic multi-party elections. Ms. Maumoon had earlier served in the Gayoom Ministry. While that in itself is not a disqualification, the fact that someone from the family that ruled Maldives with an iron fist is in the Ministry has caused a lot of heartburn. Critics, especially those from the MDP, claimed that the plan had been laid bare: that Dr. Waheed was nothing but a puppet propped by Mr. Gayoom.
Dr. Waheed himself has explained the presence of many Gayoom-era Ministers in his Cabinet. He said many such Ministers were educated . The government was the largest employer and merely because someone worked for Mr. Gayoom he could not be excluded. Also, the pool to choose from — in a country with a population of about 3.5 lakh — was limited.
Calls and messages to Ms. Maumoon on the new problems that she posed to the government did not elicit a response.
A release said Ms. Dhunya Maumoon had been named Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
Also significant is the re-appointment of Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, of the Adhaalath Party, as the Minister of Islamic Affairs. Mohamed Muiz has been named Minister of Housing and Environment.
Mr. Shaheem Ali Saeed quit the Nasheed Cabinet in 2010 on a charge of burning Israeli flag. He is considered progressive and willing to enter into a dialogue with issues of contemporary importance, including that of religion.