Interim President Waheed of the Maldives responds to my Open Letter to him
- By Richard Branson -
- Feb 29, 2012
Yesterday I had a call from President Waheed of the Maldives. He was good enough to answer a number of questions I put to him.
He says - and I believe him - that the incidents that lead to President Nasheed “resigning” had nothing to do with him. He watched the situation unfolding on television.
The Speaker of Parliament asked him as Vice President to become President since that is part of The Constitution if the President steps down.
As President he says that his first priority was to bring stability and basic confidence once again to the country. He pointed out that he had been very much part of the struggle towards democracy in the past and was 100% committed to returning the country to a true democracy. He pledged that there would be fresh elections within 18 months.
He said that he had appointed a respected person to examine the truth of what caused President Nasheed to “resign”. He also said that the police used excessive force on the demonstrators on February 8th and that needed examining. And he also said that demonstrators should not have burnt down buildings and that that also needed looking into.
He says that he didn’t know who issued an arrest warrant for President Nasheed after he left office but that it had been rescinded within 48 hours.
He pointed out that in forming a Cabinet that he had not put anybody in the Cabinet from his own party. He is determined to be an honest broker, to be seen to be one, and to get everyone’s confidence. He said that he offered to bring in people from President Nasheed’s party but they refused to join. He also pointed out that President Nasheed’s party had been a minority party and had only been in power due to the support of others. It would be for those others, and the electorate to decide who rules in the future. He ended by pledging elections in July of next year (“in line with the constitution”) once confidence has been restored.
Based on his personal reputation I believe he’s sincere in wanting to do what’s right for the country and return it to a true and lasting democracy.
He’s also right in examining very carefully the facts that lead to the “resignation” of President Nasheed. If they prove he was forced out - and if President Nasheed can still show he has the support from the majority of parliament - President Waheed should consider stepping down and letting him back in as President prior to the elections.
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group