iOS app Android app More

Maldives President Gives Mohamed Nasheed's Party 4 Days To Join Coalition

Mohamed Nasheed Maldives

First Posted: 02/16/2012 4:48 am Updated: 02/17/2012 12:39 am

MALE, Maldives (AP) — The new president in the Maldives has softened his stance and agreed to hold early elections to break a political impasse after his predecessor resigned, an Indian diplomat said.

India's Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters Thursday that President Mohammed Waheed Hassan agreed during talks with him to work on holding an election "as early as considered feasible by all concerned."

Waheed has said since taking office last week that the election should be held according to schedule in October 2013. But changing that stance means a moral victory for former President Mohamed Nasheed, who has been calling for early elections since he resigned last week.

Nasheed had faced weeks of public protests and was losing support from security forces when he stepped down. He has since claimed he was ousted in a coup at gunpoint. The claim sparked demonstrations that were put down by the police in a violent crackdown. In far-off atolls of this Indian Ocean archipelago, Nasheed's supporters burnt down police stations, court houses and government vehicles.

But Waheed has insisted the country cannot hold an election amid political acrimony and he wanted time to heal, a stand endorsed by the United States.

However, Mathai, who visited the Maldives, brokered a deal whereby a National Unity Government as proposed by Waheed would "work towards the conditions that will permit such elections to take place, including any constitutional amendments."

It is unclear if Nasheed has accepted Waheed's invitation to join the unity government. The government announced earlier Thursday that it is giving Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party four days to participate.

Waheed has been forming a Cabinet but has kept some ministerial posts open in case Nasheed's party accepts the invitation.

Loading Slideshow...
  • In this photo provided by the President's Office, Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed announces his resignation in a nationally televised address Tuesday afternoon, in Male, Maldives, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. The first democratically elected president of the Maldives resigned after the police and army clashed in the streets of the island nation amid protests over his controversial arrest of a top judge. (AP Photo/President's Office, HO)

  • Maldivian police control the crowds in the capital island Male on February 8, 2012 as they moved to push back thousands of anti-government activists loyal to former president Mohamed Nasheed who stepped down a day earlier. (Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Maldivian policemen stand guard during an anti-government protest in the capital island Male on February 8, 2012. (Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A Maldivian policeman looks through two shields as he stands guard during an anti-government protest in the capital island Male on February 8, 2012. (Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • An anti-government protester throws back a teargas cannister to police in the capital island Male on February 8, 2012.(S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Maldivian police push back a protester wounded in clashes between police and thousands of anti-government protesters in the capital island Male on February 8, 2012. (Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A Maldives soldier fires a rubber bullet towards police during a clash between them in Male, Maldives, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Sinan Hussain)

  • A Maldives police officer, in blue, charges soldiers during a clash in Male, Maldives, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Sinan Hussain)

  • Former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed waves as he emerges from his first public appearance addressing thousands of loyalists on February 8, 2012 in the capital Male a day after stepping down. (Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Maldives new President Mohammed Waheed Hassan gestures during a press conference in Male, Maldives, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. The Maldives new president is calling for the formation of a national unity government to help the country recover from the political crisis that led to the resignation of his predecessor, Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed Tuesday after police joined protesters against his rule. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

  • Supporters of Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned Tuesday from his post as Maldivian President, clash with policemen during a protest in Male, Maldives, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

  • Maldivian police officers lead away supporters of Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned from his post as Maldivian President, during a protest in Male, Maldives, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Sinan Hussain)

  • Supporters of Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned from his post as Maldivian President, take cover from tear gas canisters during a protest in Male, Maldives, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena )

  • A supporter of Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned Tuesday from his post as Maldivian President, gestures towards policemen and army soldiers during a protest in Male, Maldives, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. Police fired tear gas at a rally of about 1,000 people demanding Mohamed Nasheed be reinstated. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena )

  • Maldivian soldiers stand guard with their anti-riot gear beside them in Male, Maldives, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012. A Maldives court issued an arrest warrant for former President Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned but later insisted he had been ousted by coup plotters in a political dispute that sparked rioting. (AP Photo/ Gemunu Amarasinghe)

  • Maldives Acting Chief of National Defense Force Brig. Gen, Ahmed Shyam, left, looks on as Defense Minister Mohammed Nazim speaks during a media briefing in Male, Maldives , Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

  • Former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed greets supporters outside his residence in Male, Maldives, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

  • In this Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, photo flames rise from the burning Hulhudhoo Court after it was set afire by supporters of former President Mohamed Nasheed,in Addu City, Maldives. (AP Photo)

  • In this Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, photo flames rise from burning vehicles at a police station after it was set afire by supporters of former President Mohamed Nasheed, in Addu City, Maldives. Maldives police commissioner Abdullah Riyaz said 18 police stations on several islands, along with an undetermined number of court houses and police vehicles, were destroyed in the violence. A Maldives court issued an arrest warrant for Nasheed, one day after his supporters rampaged in the capital and his claim of being ousted by a coup left unclear the stability of the fledging Indian Ocean democracy. (AP Photo)

FOLLOW HUFFPOST WORLD

Filed by Ryan Craggs  |