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Maldives President Mohamed Waheed steps down
Friday November 15, 2013 5:30 PM, IANS

Maldives President Mohamed Waheed Friday stepped down as president as the country prepared to hold the second round of the presidential election.

In a farewell speech, Waheed said one of the priorities during his tenure was to enhance the area of foreign relations, adding that the long standing non-aligned, independent foreign policy with an Islamic character was changed by the then (Nasheed) government, Xinhua reported.

"Because of this, in global currents, the country's own say was weakened by manifolds. The country was under a position where it could be forced, by changing the Constitution, to do things that its legal framework didn't allow. The government and senior leadership were being asked to resign within few hours, to flout the orders of court, and to stand against those orders," the outgoing president said.

However, he said the government refused to bow down to foreign pressure, but instead upheld the legal framework and the orders of the constitutional institutions of the country.

The second round of the presidential election will take place Saturday with the Maldives Democratic Party candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed being the frontrunner.

Meanwhile, addressing a rally of the largest political grouping, including Jumhoori Party, formed to lead a coalition in Saturday' s polls, former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom said if the coalition candidate was elected to office, the government would withdraw its membership from the Commonwealth.

"Times have changed and so has the values to which the Commonwealth once ascribed to. Today, the Commonwealth is used by larger member nations to bully small nations and use it as a platform to interfere in the internal politics of smaller and vulnerable member states," he said.

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