- Strong quake hits Japan, triggering tsunami
- Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Violent gang taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Medicaid enrollment continues to soar under Obamacare, administration says
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: ‘We cannot afford to wait on Congress’ for immigration
- White House urges GOP to act ‘urgently’ on $3.7 billion request for illegal immigrants
- Politicians, criminals using ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ law EU courts forced upon Google
- Combat fatigue: elite special forces troops are ‘fraying,’ Gen. Joseph Votel warns
- German foreign minister to meet Kerry to discuss spying claims
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: ‘Get yourself some firearms’
Maldives’ former president says he resigned in coup, urges elections
Question of the Day
Maldives' first democratically elected president says the United States must acknowledge that he was ousted in a coup and press the current government of the Indian Ocean island nation to hold presidential elections this year.
"If we delay the elections, the regime will get more entrenched," Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned Feb. 7, said in an interview with The Washington Times on a visit to Washington on Tuesday. "They will start playing with the constitution and an election would increasingly become elusive."
Mr. Nasheed's successor, Mohammed Waheed Hassan Manik, has said the earliest that elections could be held under the Maldivian constitution is July 2013. Mr. Manik was vice president in the Nasheed government.
Mr. Nasheed, an ardent advocate of the perils of climate change and the rising seas that threaten to submerge his low-lying nation, famously held an underwater Cabinet meeting in 2009 to draw attention to the problem.
He says he was forced to resign following a coup staged by Islamic radicals, the police and the military. However, the U.S. has not acknowledged that Mr. Nasheed was overthrown and has recognized the legitimacy of Mr. Manik's government.
Mr. Nasheed met assistant secretaries of state for South and Central Asian affairs and human rights, Robert Blake and Michael Posner, respectively, on his visit to Washington. Those meetings revealed no indication that the Obama administration has revised its position, he said.
A Commission of National Inquiry is investigating the circumstances surrounding Mr. Nasheed's resignation and is expected to publish its report on July 31. Mr. Nasheed is confident it will conclude that he was toppled in a coup.
"If the international inquiry comes out and pronounces it as a coup, it is going to be very difficult for the State Department after that," he said. "It is getting difficult for them to maintain their position and the logic of it is lost ... but they want to stick to their guns."
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the Obama administration will "look to the report of the Commission of National Inquiry ... to provide further clarity on the events surrounding the Feb. 7 transfer of power."
"We would expect that the commission's report would also inform the decision on whether and when to have early elections," she said. "The U.S. and other international donors will do what we can to assist Maldives if a consensus develops on the need for early elections."
Mr. Nasheed says he's puzzled by the U.S. position. "I find it very difficult to see how it can be in their interest or our interest to maintain the status quo."
He says his opponents had spread rumors that he was trying to undermine Islam, the official state religion of the Maldives. His supporters say the coup plotters were loyal to former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, whose 30-year-rule came to an end when Mr. Nasheed was elected in 2008.
As president, Mr. Nasheed sought to launch a corruption probe against his successor, and earlier this year asked the army to arrest a senior judge who was blocking the investigation. Anti-government protests soon rocked the tranquil islands better known as a luxury honeymoon destination.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- Boko Haram takes credit for abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls, threatens to sell them
- Al Qaeda core degraded, but 'more aggressive' affiliates still pose threat to U.S.
- Political uncertainty and violence in first Iraqi election since U.S. withdraw
- Egypt judge sentences 683 Islamists to death over Morsi-tied violence
- Doctor's killing in latest Afghanistan attack puts NGOs in crosshairs
TWT Video Picks
Democrats reveal an identity crisis by pretending to be what they're not
- Pentagon's self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: 'We cannot afford to wait on Congress' for immigration
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- Obama seeks brisk passage of border children funding bill
- Va. Democrat reportedly seeks nude shots of Kendall Jones
- Hamas orders civilians to die in Israeli airstrikes
- QADER: Extradite the assassin of Bangladesh's founding father
- Bloomberg: Pro-gun towns must lack roads
- Bush fixed bowling lanes that Obama wants to renovate
- New York City creates ID card so 500K illegal immigrants can get services
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs