Male: Over 7,000 supporters of the opposition MDP party of ousted President Mohammed Nasheed on Friday assembled in Male in a show of strength, demanding that the new regime announce a date for polls under an India-brokered deal.
Though the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had initially planned a massive protest rally on Friday against the new regime headed by President Mohammed Waheed Hassan, the party restricted it to a political gathering at the 'Tsunami Monument' after India asked both sides to maintain restraint.
Hoara Ibbe, who was Under Secretary at the President's Office during Nasheed's tenure, addressed the gathering, saying that the protest would continue till Hassan announced a date for Presidential polls.
Other speakers asked 59-year-old Hassan to resign immediately and pave the way for formation of an interim government. They also demanded "cleaning up" of judiciary.
Ibrahim Ismail, who was the first chairperson of MDP, criticised Hassan's government, calling it "unconstitutional" and asked it to give a date for the elections.
Nasheed's MDP had earlier said that it was grateful to India for its "timely intervention" to help resolve the political impasse here, a view shared by the new regime as well.
"It has been a positive movement, a forward movement. India's role was very much important in ensuring that political and democratic process is on," Ibrahim Hussein Zaki, a senior MDP leader and close aide of Nasheed, said.
"We are grateful to India for the timely intervention," Zaki, the then Special Envoy to Nasheed, said.
New Maldivian President Hassan too thanked India for its efforts aimed at ending the political crisis in Maldives.
Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, who was here on a two-day visit, had met all stakeholders here, including Hassan and Nasheed, and helped the government to come out with a roadmap to ease the political crisis triggered by the last week resignation of Nasheed in what he claimed was a coup d'etat.
Mathai on Thursday announced that consequent to his discussions all the parties had agreed on a formulation to get the country out of the crisis.
He had said there was a degree of convergence on how matters should be taken forward and the parties agreed to the need for maintenance of Constitutional order.
Under the agreed formulation, the government of national unity would hold discussions with all relevant parties to conduct elections by an early date.
It would work towards the conditions that would permit such elections to take place, including any necessary Constitutional amendments, Mathai had said.