Mathai in Maldives to ensure deal is on track


New Delhi/Male: Two days before the crucial session of the Maldivian parliament begins, India’s Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai Tuesday touched down in Male to assess the progress of a deal he helped broker among feuding political parties that envisaged early elections and political reconciliation.

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Mathai is expected to meet key political figures, including the ousted president Mohamed Nasheed and his successor Mohamed Waheed Hassan. He is also expected to meet the speaker of the People’s Majlis which convenes Thursday.

Mathai is expected to impress upon his interlocutors on the need to have a constitutional amendment that will ensure that the elections held will elect a president for full term, thereby ensuring the stability of the new government, official sources said.

During his visit Feb 15-16, Mathai had held wide-ranging discussions that led to the feuding Maldivian parties agreeing on a roadmap that held out the hope for an early return of peace and stability to the strategically located island nation.

The political parties had then agreed that “in the interests of national reconciliation and to encourage harmony between our citizens, the government of National Unity will hold discussions with all relevant parties to conduct elections by an early date,”

The deal conceded to the long-standing demand of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) for early elections.

The dates for the elections are yet to be announced.

Mathai is expected to return to Delhi Wednesday.