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Maldives president addresses assembly amid chaos

March 19, 2012 18:10 IST

Amidst opposition supporters picketing Parliament and violence on the streets, Maldives President Mohammed Waheed on Monday gave his maiden Presidential address saying he was open for early elections.

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Vowing to uphold the constitution, Waheed delivered his his 15-minute address, during which he said he had no objection to early elections, provided all parties agree and necessary constitutional amendments are made.

"This is the time for all of us to work together in one spirit, the time to bring political differences to the discussion table in order to formulate solutions", said the President, who formally opened the Parliament on Monday.

This was Waheed's second attempt to address the Parliament since he took office last month in a contentious power transfer.

Last time, the MPs of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of ousted President Mohammed Nasheed had prevented Waheed from making his address on March 1.

Even on Monday, violence broke out both inside and outside the Parliament.

Police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators who clashed with them while the Parliament's security staff forcibly removed a number of MDP lawmakers who were trying to block Waheed from addressing the House.

Nasheed has called for early elections and has alleged he was forced to resign because of a coup, a charge denied by the current regime.

Interestingly, Waheed, who served as vice president under Nasheed, on Monday took to microblogging site Twitter to express his frustration.

He said there was no excuse for the international community to ignore Anni's (Nasheed's) "anarchic behaviour".

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