- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Maldives inquiry commission has determined that the Indian Ocean archipelago’s first democratically elected president was not forced to resign, as he has claimed.

Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned Feb. 7, insists he was ousted at gunpoint, a claim he reiterated in an interview with The Washington Times in June. He said he was forced to resign following a “coup” staged by Islamic radicals, the police and the military.

In its report Thursday, the National Commission of Inquiry found no evidence to support Mr. Nasheed’s claims.

“With regard to the idea that there was a ‘coup d’etat,’ nothing in the Maldives changed in constitutional terms — indeed, the constitution was precisely followed as prescribed,” the report said.

Vice President Mohammed Waheed Hassan assumed power after Mr. Nasheed stepped down.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland welcomed the release of the report and commended the commission’s leaders for their “commitment to a thorough and inclusive investigation and review process.”

“The United States has consistently called for all Maldivians to respect the findings of the Commission of National Inquiry,” Mrs. Nuland said. “Now that the commission has released its report, we urge all parties to respect those findings, to exercise restraint, obey the rule of law, and continue to express themselves in a peaceful and nonviolent manner.”

Kamalesh Sharma, secretary general of the Commonwealth, a collection of former British colonies including the Maldives, also welcomed the report.

Mr. Sharma urged all parties to respect the commission’s findings “so that, moving forward, all actions and reactions reflect the sense of responsibility and restraint necessary in the best national interest.”

Mr. Nasheed has called for presidential elections to be held this year. However, Mr. Manik has said that, under the Maldivian Constitution, July 2013 is the earliest that elections can be held.


• Ashish Kumar Sen can be reached at asen@washingtontimes.com.

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