Maldives parties agree to revise probe panel

Male: Maldives`s political parties have agreed to revise the composition of an inquiry panel, set up to probe the events around the February transfer of power, in line with the demands of the opposition MDP and a Commonwealth group.

The parties which represent the present government at the crucial All-Party Talks agreed to reform the National Enquiry Commission, which has been largely criticised by former President Mohamed Nasheed, as well as the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

The deadline laid out by CMAG for revision of the probe panel was May 16 failing which the group had warned of action.

The Secretary General of the MDP Parliamentary Group, Hamid Abdul Gafoor, said after a meeting that the parties representing the present government at the talks have agreed to reform the National Enquiry Commission.

Hamid said that they agreed to let Nasheed have two members from his side plus a lawyer representing the Commonwealth. He also said that under the understanding reached now, the representative of the Commonwealth will be the vice-chair of the NEC.

The successful outcome of a meeting of the all party talks came at a time when Commonwealth Special Envoy to the Maldives, Sir Donald McKinnon, is in the country for a second round of talks with the parties concerned to defuse the political crisis.

McKinnon, who is in Maldives for a second time, has held talks with major parties as well as with Nasheed. At present, the NEC comprises of members appointed by President Mohamed Waheed. The present panel is chaired by Ismail Shafeeu, who was defence minister and home minister during former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom`s regime.