Indian foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai has stated that all political parties in the Maldives have unanimously agreed for a national unity government which would work towards holding an early presidential elections before the scheduled 2013 presidential polls.
Speaking during a press briefing held at the Indian High Commission, he admitted that he had held discussions with President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed, Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament and all political leaders of the country during his one day express visit.
He further said that during his discussions with the stakeholders there had been an amount of convergence on how to forge ahead and the necessity for upholding constitutional order.
Mathai highlighted that the roadmap formulated by President Waheed for an inclusive political process provided an excellent platform for the parties to resolve their differences.
“Consequent to my discussions, all the parties concerned agreed that in the interests of national reconciliation and to encourage harmony between our citizens the government of national unity will hold discussions with all relevant parties to conduct elections by an early date.”
“The government of National unity will work towards the conditions that will permit such elections to take place including any necessary constitutional amendments,” Maathai said.
He also said that it was understood that the elections would be held as early as considered viable by all stakeholders after discussions amongst themselves.
After being pressed by the media, Mathai did say that the elections would probably be held before the parliament convenes on March 1, 2012.
Mathai who was rushed to the Maldives by the Indian government yesterday evening, said that that he had facilitated dialogue between all the stakeholders to form the national unity government and move forward for early elections, which has been endorsed by the Indian government.
Following questions with regard to position of Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Mathai said that MDP has assured to “encourage an atmosphere appropriate to the holding elections.”
“In this context we understand that their decision to hold a rally tomorrow is being reconsidered,” Foreign Secretary added.
India's high level presence came after Nasheed made claims that the political crisis in the Maldives had a larger dimension, including a possible geopolitical competition with China to gain a foothold amid the continuing political standoff.
However, Mathai stressed that his mandate was to discuss the political aspects of the country and refused to comment on the Chinese situation.
Mathai's visit comes after Ganapathi, secretary (west) of the External Affairs Ministry, made a visit last week to fashion a compromise between the new government of Waheed and Nasheed, who has publicly denounced the new government claiming that he had been ousted in a coup and pressed for snap elections.
During the Ganapathi visit, the Indian government announced recognition of Waheed’s government and most countries including the US has followed suit.
Mathai's comments regarding the date that the elections should be held, had been clarified later by the Indian High Commission in Male by stating that the foreign secretary had actually meant to say that the process of preparation and discussion between the relevant stakeholders to hold the election should take place before the Parliament convenes on March 1, 2012.