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20 April 2024

Ex-Maldives president rejects US compromise call


Ousted Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed on Sunday rejected a US call to compromise and dismissed proposals for a unity government to end political unrest in the Indian Ocean nation.

Nasheed, who insists he was removed in a coup, told supporters overnight in the capital Male that he would press for snap elections instead of pushing for his party to consider a coalition with his former deputy who succeeded him.

"We want an election and we will campaign for it," Nasheed told large crowds, who cheered and later dispersed peacefully.

Nasheed said his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) did not accept the new government as legitimate.

He also repeated his calls for an independent investigation into the alleged coup that toppled him and accused the police and the military of carrying out arrests of MDP supporters and those linked to his administration.

His remarks came hours after US assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs Robert Blake spoke out against snap polls and asked both sides to make "compromises."

The United States is strongly backing calls from the new president, Mohamed Waheed, for a national unity government to be formed.

Legislator Eva Abdulla, from Nasheed's MDP, said they were maintaining their stance that there should be an investigation into what they call a coup and there should be elections immediately.

"He (Nasheed) is sticking to his position," Abdulla told AFP.

Blake had said that it was too early to hold an election and he wanted Maldivian institutions such as the police, the judiciary and the elections commission strengthened before the next vote due in November 2013.

"I don't think anyone believes that elections can be properly held right now," Blake told reporters on Saturday evening at the end of a 12-hour visit for talks with Waheed, Nasheed and several others.

The new president has also ruled out elections before his term ends in 2013.

Nasheed, who claims a military-backed coup forced him to step down last Tuesday, had insisted snap polls were crucial to end the political crisis.