Maldives president must step down Nasheed

By: admin
Updated: 14 Feb 2013 02:41 AM

Maldivian President Mohammed Waheed Hassan must quit and an interim,
caretaker government should be set up, former president Mohamed Nasheed
demanded on Thursday.

Nasheed, who took refuge in the Indian High Commission on Wednesday after
a court ordered his arrest, said Hassan cannot be trusted to hold a free
and fair presidential election.

"The events of the past year - the mass arrests, police brutality, the
politically motivated trials - demonstrate that Waheed cannot be trusted
to hold a free and fair election," said Nasheed in a statement posted on
the website of his Maldivian Democratic Party.

"Waheed should do the right thing and resign from office," he said.

"An interim, caretaker government should be established that can lead the
Maldives to genuinely free and fair elections, in which all candidates are
freely able to compete."

Nasheed, 45, entered the Indian mission after a court issued an arrest
order after he failed to attend a scheduled hearing over the detention of
Criminal Court chief judge Abdulla Mohamed.

Nasheed resigned on February 7 last year followed by what he alleged was a
coup. Vice President Mohammed Waheed Hassan succeeded him.

The statement on quoted him as describing his ongoing trial
against him as "a politically motivated sham".

He said the Hulhumale Magistrates Court - established to hear his case -
was illegal and created "with the sole purpose of disqualifying me from
the presidential elections".

He accused Waheed of ruling the Maldives with "the barrel of a gun".

The Maldives, an atoll nation, is known for its deep blue seas, turquoise
reefs, white sandy beaches and palm trees. It comprises 1,190 islands - of
which about 200 are inhabited - and has a population of 3,50,000.

The country has been in political turmoil even since Nasheed was ousted.