Maldives President names deputy

Male: Maldives new President today named Mohamed Waheed Deen, a minister in the government of former autocratic leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, as his deputy. "The President has announced his name and will be sending the name to the Parliament on Thursday," Masood Imad, Press Secretary to the President said.

The Maldivian constitution stipulates that Vice-President must be approved by the parliament. Deen`s appointment came after President Mohamad Waheed Hassan had stressed that he would appoint a Vice-President with no political affiliations and had urged all political parties not to influence his decision.

Deen is the owner of Bandos Island resort, one of the prominent resorts in this archipelago nation and has also been a minister for Atoll Affairs in Gayoom regime. He has also been a member of Human Rights Commission of Maldives. Hassan is in the process of cementing his position as the head of a `unity government`.

He has already announced his cabinet but has left crucial posts of Finance Minister and Foreign Minister vacant. At present, the posts have been given as additional charge to two ministers. Maldives was struck by political unrest last week after then President Mohamad Nasheed resigned but later claimed he was forced to do so.

He alleged there was a coup, a charge denied by the current regime. Hassan, who was then the Vice President was sworn in as the new President. Nasheed has been demanding a snap poll which the current regime says will take place as scheduled next year. Interestingly, under the Maldivian constitution, even if fresh polls are called and a new government comes into play, their term will be only till the period the current term ends, that is in November 2013.