There has been disquiet among the large number of supporters of former Maldivian President Mohammed Nasheed over indications that appeared on February 11, 2012, that India, the US and the European Union countries have got themselves reconciled to the continuance of Dr. Mohammad Waheed Hasan as the President of the Maldives.
While India seems to support Nasheed’s demand for advanced elections within two months, it does not seem to support his demand that Waheed should not continue as the President during this period and that an interim President acceptable to all political parties should take over and supervise the holding of the elections.
India seems to support Nasheeds demand for advanced elections within two months”¦
The US and the EU do not seem to be prepared to support the demand for advanced elections. However, they do support Nasheed’s demand for an independent enquiry into the events that led to the resignation of Nasheed, who has been alleging that he was forced to resign at gun point by sections of the Police and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF). Waheed has expressed himself as amenable to the idea of an independent enquiry under him as the President.
The three major international players —India, the US and the EU — who have been trying to bring about an understanding among all parties on the future course of action without questioning the legitimacy of Dr. Waheed, seem to feel comfortable with 59-year-old Waheed despite his total lack of a political and popular base in the Maldives.
The US and the EU do not seem to be prepared to support the demand for advanced elections.
The US knows Dr. Waheed quite well. He graduated in English from the American University of Beirut and subsequently did his doctorate in Education from the Stanford University of the US. He had served in the UN from 1991 to 2005—- as the UNICEF representative in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan. He had headed the UN office in Kathmandu and Kabul. During his posting of three years in Kabul, he had developed a good personal equation with US civilian bureaucrats and military officers stationed there.
Nobody questions Dr. Waheed’s credentials as a highly educated and progressive-minded former international bureaucrat, who had seen first hand the damage done to Afghan society by the Taliban. Left to himself, he is unlikely to allow the radicalisation and Talibanisation of Islam in the Maldives.
But will he be left to himself? Will he be able to assert his independence without a base of political support and without any public support in the Maldives? His first appointments to the so-called National Unity Government, which is still in the process of formation, do not inspire confidence.
His first appointments to the so-called National Unity Government, which is still in the process of formation, do not inspire confidence.
Many suspect that radical Islamists and their sympathisers in the Police and the MNDF manipulated the public protests against Nasheed’s arbitrary style of functioning in such a manner as to bring about the exit of Nasheed, whose advocacy of a progressive Islam and close relations with Israel, were not liked by them.
They feel that what we are seeing in the Maldives is the beginning of an under-the-surface confrontation between progressive Islamists and radical, pro-Taliban Islamists behind the façade of the presidency of progressive Waheed.