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Last updated: 10 February, 2012 - Published 13:58 GMT
 
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Maldives president rejects early poll
 

 
 
President Mohammed Waheed Hassan (AP photo)
'The former president is still agitating and he is free, he can move around wherever he wants'
The President of the Maldives, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, has rejected calls by his predecessor for a snap presidential election.

The deposed president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, has urged his successor to hand over power to the speaker of parliament, and called for elections within sixty days.

Speaking exclusively to BBC Sinhala service from his office in Male, President Hassan said the current environment is not conducive to hols a snap election.

“This is not an environment in which you can have free an fair election,” the president said.

“The country is divided on political lines, the former president is still agitating and you know he is free, he can move around wherever he wants to go than creating problems to undermine the law and order situation.”

'Struggle for democracy'

The president said the election campaign has already started, as many candidates, including Mr Nasheed, have declared their candidacy for the upcoming elections in 2013.

 The struggle for democracy is a long one. President Nasheed had a significant role in it but he is not the only one who brought democracy to this country
 
President Mohammed Hassan

“I think what is really important now is to calm down, make things settle down and create an environment that is conducive for a free and fair election. And I have to demonstrate that we uphold the constitution and the rule of law,” Mr Hassan told BBC Sandeshaya.

It is wrong to declare, said Mr Hassan, that the country is a democracy while “trespassing the constitution and the judiciary.”

“The struggle for democracy is a long one. President Nasheed had a significant role in it but he is not the only one who brought democracy to this country,” added Mr Hassan.

Former President Mohammed Nasheed in London (file photo: Saroj Pathirana)
Mr Nasheed says he was forced out from the presidency

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Nasheed said his removal amounted to a coup and that he had been threatened at gunpoint and told to resign.

But the new president, Mohammed Waheed Hassan said Mr Nasheed resigned voluntarily and it was because Mr Nasheed “acted like a dictator” and “tried to use police to do illegal things,” that his predecessor was forced to resign after losing military and police support.

Commenting on the events that led to the assault on his predecessor and the assault and arrest of senior leaders of Maldives Democratic Party (MDP), the president says the incident was “own creation” by his predecessor as a result of his “provocation”.

“I personally do not approve of any excessive use of power by the police and I assure you that it will not repeat. I am telling the police to calm down also and to abide by rules and regulations and respect for human rights,” he added.

President Hassan accused the former president of trying to stage a “show” for international media.

“I really hope that he does not provoke and create situations for the media. The international media is here and is a perfect point for him to try to become a martyr,” added President Hassan.

 
 
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10 February, 2012 | Sandeshaya
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