Male: Maldives' new
President Mohamed Waheed said he would form an all-party national
unity government Wednesday, the day calm returned to the capital
after weeks of protests that culminated in Mohamed Nasheed
stepping down as head of state.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hoped that the shift in power
will help quell the tensions the island country has experienced,
while India assured Waheed of its continued support to the
The Republic Square in capital Male was calm and quiet Wednesday
morning with families walking around and chattering about at the
very location where weeks of demonstrations for ouster of Mohamed
Nasheed, the first democratically elected president in the
archipelago, took place.
The protests erupted with Nasheed's order to arrest a top judge.
Nasheed announced his resignation Tuesday and on the same day,
Waheed, a former top Unicef official, took oath as the president.
The island nation, a paradise holiday destination renowned for its
pristine white sand beaches, turquoise waters and high-end luxury,
experienced a spate of protests which culminated in a clash
between troops and police who joined the protesters against the
Waheed, appearing before media for the first time Wednesday at the
President's House since assuming office Tuesday, said discussions
were under way to form a national unity government, reported
"I will work with the spirit of coalition with various partners of
the country. Together with them, we will be able to build a stable
democratic country that respects individual freedom foremost (and)
respects and upholds (the) constitution that guarantees the bill
of rights for our people," said Waheed.
"I am in consultation with all the major political parties. I have
had several meetings with them, including president of MDP," he
added. Nasheed helped establish the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).
Waheed, who was vice president in Nasheed's administration, is to
continue as the president till the next presidential election in
The UN and India, among others, hoped for peace in the Maldives.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed "strong hope" that a
shift in power in the Maldives will help quell the violence and
tensions the island country has experienced of late, said a UN
statement released here Tuesday.
"The secretary general expresses his strong hope that this
handover of power, which has been announced as a constitutional
step to avoid further violence and instability, will lead to the
peaceful resolution of the political crisis that has polarized the
country in recent months," Xinhua quoted the statement as saying.
In the statement, Ban called on the people of the Maldives to
peacefully deal with sources of tension.
"The United Nations will remain a close partner of the Maldives
and will continue to extend its support in the period ahead," the
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Waheed assuring him
of India's continued support after the dramatic regime change in
India was committed to working with the Maldives for the "security
and prosperity" of both the countries, Manmohan Singh said in his
felicitation letter to Waheed.
He said India as a close and friendly neighbour would continue to
support the Maldivian people's efforts to build a "stable,
peaceful and prosperous country".
In 1988, India had responded to a call by then president Maumoon
Abdul Gayoom to help quell an externally-induced coup attempt by
merceanries from Sri Lanka.