International

Waheed says presidential elections after legal issues are settled

Nearly seven months after the “transfer of power” in Maldives, there still is no sign of a date for the Presidential election.

While maintaining that Presidential elections will be held in Maldives on schedule, President Mohamed Waheed — catapulted to the seat because of a Constitutional provision — added a rider: a clutch of legal issues had to be resolved ahead of an election.

“We do not have a legal frame work for a coalition government. And, unless we put these basic building blocks of legislation in place, we will face the same problems again. What’s the point of having an election if you haven’t solved some of these problems?” Dr. Waheed asked. Also, there was no act on Political parties, he added.

Asked what came of the promises he made in February to India and the Commonwealth on an election date by end 2012, Dr. Waheed said: “Those who have been demanding early elections before the end of the year now realise that it was premature…We have a Constitution. I will uphold that Constitution. I expect all of our partners and friends also to respect the Constitution of the Maldives.”

Dr. Waheed — earlier the Vice-President, took charge as President on February 7 this year after a bizarre series of events led to Mohamed Nasheed resigning from office. He had promised to work towards early elections.

The Vice President holds office for the remainder of the term. Hence, the earliest an election can be held in July, 2013. “What I have said is that our administration supports the earliest date for Presidential elections allowed under the Constitution. That in my mind will be July, 2013. I am hoping that the election will be at that time,” he said.

Now, Dr. Waheed says that the elections can be held only if The Majlis (Parliament) decides on the legal issues ahead of the election. The Majlis could not transact a host of listed business because Mr. Nasheed’s party, Maldivian Democratic Party, did not allow it function smoothly. It is expected to reconvene in October.

Asked if he would run for office, he said that he would decide “in the next few months”. “I am contemplating on that,” he said.

On Indian investments, which were made when Mr. Nasheed was the President, Dr. Waheed said that there were “one or two places” where there are some questions. “We are trying to resolve them. The preferred approach will be to renegotiate some of these…These are large projects. Some of these are questionable as to how these things were agreed in the first place. On Tata housing, there is no major issue…We requested a modification. With GMR we have examined the project. We are in the process of coming to a consensus as to what we want out of that. Then we will go in for negotiations with GMR,” Dr. Waheed said.

Dr. Waheed arrived in Sri Lanka on August 25, on a three-day state visit at the invitation of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. This is the first State Visit of the President Waheed to Sri Lanka after assumption of office. He is also scheduled to travel to China in the first week of September.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 1:09:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/waheed-says-presidential-elections-after-legal-issues-are-settled/article3817189.ece

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