India, US quick move on Male regime shocking

Colombo: Former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed has said that he was "shocked" at the Indian and US government`s rapid decision to recognise the new regime after he was ousted in the February 7 "coup".

On his first visit to Sri Lanka after the change of regime in the Maldives to seek assistance for his pro-democracy campaign, Nasheed said "It was shocking to see how rapidly the Indian and the US government stepped in to recognise the new regime – the coup."

"I think that it took them a while to understand what was going on and then they found out it was not possible to maintain the present order. These two governments have made many re-alignments in their policies. It was disappointing at the beginning," Nasheed was quoted as saying by Sunday Observer.

India and the US had quickly recognised President Mohamed Waheed`s government after Nasheed`s ouster. He asked the present government in the country to declare early elections to restore democracy to end the political turmoil in the Maldives.

"They have come to a point that elections are very important," he said apparently referring to India and the US.

During his meetings here with Sri Lankan political leaders and also Colombo-based diplomats, Nasheed said there was no need to change the country`s constitution to go for an early election.

"We want to advocate an early election and we want to see a thorough investigation into the coup and the transfer of power with international participation. We also want to see democracy back on track in the Maldives. We have been speaking to the diplomatic community and the Sri Lankan government here," he said.

Explaining the why there was a need to `rush` for an early election he said it was because the present government leads to a dictatorship.

"Governments are supposed to be formed with the consent of the people. They are supposed to formulate government policies and who should govern there," Nasheed said.

"In the absence of that, what we have is a consolidation of a dictatorship. When governments are established without legitimacy, there is more room for dictatorship to take root. Therefore, we ought to have elections as quickly as possible," he said.

Nasheed had blamed a military coup for his downfall where he was forced to resign as president. He was Mohamed Waheed`s government.

He had became the island nation`s first democratically elected president in multi-party elections held for the first time in the island in 2008.

Nasheed on Saturday also pitched for a referendum in his country over the legitimacy of Waheed`s government.