Mohammed Waheed Hassan

Mohammed Waheed Hassan Manik is the current President of the Maldives.

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Country of ResidenceMaldives
Date of Birth1953-01-03
GenderMale
NationalityMaldives
Place Of BirthMalé
TitleHead of State

Mohammed Waheed Hassan Manik (born 3 January 1953) is the current President of the Maldives. He has served as a news anchor, a United Nations official with UNICEF, UNDP and UNESCO, and a member of the Maldivian Parliament. Waheed was the first citizen of the Maldives to receive a Ph.D. having received it at Stanford University in the U.S., the first democratically-elected Vice President of the Maldives, and reportedly the first person to appear on Maldivian television.

On 7 February 2012, he assumed the office of President following the disputed resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed. A day later, Nasheed stated that he had been forced to resign at gunpoint by military and police, reports which Waheed and his supporters have denied.

Early life

Waheed was born to Hassan Ibrahim Maniku and Aishath Moosa. He was the first of ten children.[1]

Early political career

In 1980, long-standing President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom appointed Waheed to the Constitutional Assembly convened to amend the constitution of the country. When Waheed realized that the Members of Parliament would not be able to make dramatic reforms, he left the Maldives to complete his education in the United States where he received two Masters and a PhD from Stanford University; he was the first Maldivian to earn the latter degree.[2][3]

After completing his education, he returned and stood for Parliament. In 1989, Waheed ran against Gayoom's brother-in-law, Ilyas Ibrahim. Despite this opposition, Waheed won the seat.[citation needed]

After Mohamed Nasheed was arrested for criticizing Gayoom's family as corrupt, he appealed to Waheed for help.[citation needed] In response, Waheed created and participated in a black ribbon campaign professing his support. Finally in mid-1991, after most of Waheed's former campaign supporters and much of his extended family was arrested, Waheed left the country.[4]

United Nations career

Waheed and his family left Maldives in 1992, and he took a job with UNICEF, working in Tanzania and then Bangladesh. He would later be transferred to the UN Headquarters in New York and made a senior advisor coordinating global policy for UNICEF.[1] In 2001, Waheed would be transferred to UNICEF South Asia based in Kathmandu, Nepal, where he headed programs for the region. He was later made the head of UNICEF Afghanistan.[1]

Soon, Waheed was asked to return to New York, where he was the UNICEF representative and the Associate Director to the UNDCO. Due to political developments in the Maldives, Waheed retired from the UN, and returned home to try to play a role in bringing democracy to the country.[1] However, as his resources depleted, and as he felt the main opposition party began to favor a more militant approach, Waheed returned to the UN, performing short-term assignments. During his time in UNICEF, Waheed was the head of UNICEF South Asia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Turkmenistan.[citation needed]

2008 presidential election

After his career in the United Nations, Waheed returned to the Maldives once again to stand for the leadership of the newly formed Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). As far as the leadership of MDP was concerned, Waheed lost the election by a narrow margin. Waheed had given up his position in UNICEF. In 2006, after his work with MDP, he took up a consultancy position. In June 2008, Waheed returned to the Maldives and formed his own political party. Later on, most of his party members, including all the senior figures, reverted to MDP: Gaumee Itthihaad.[1]

Waheed was chosen as the Presidential Candidate of Gaumee Itthihaad Party (GIP) in the beginning of September. However, when the election date was announced in early October, GIP formed a coalition with the Maldivian Democratic Party, after being approached by the two other main opposition groups: the New Maldives Movement and the Jumhooree Party. Though Waheed was asked to become the Vice Presidential Candidate for both the other parties,[citation needed] Gaumee Itthihaad chose to form an alliance with MDP, only days before the deadline for the submission of the candidates names. GI and MDP formed MDP Itthihaad with Mohamed Nasheed as the Presidential Candidate and Waheed as the Vice Presidential Candidate in the October 2008 presidential election. This was the first democratic election in the history of the country and ended Gayoom's 30-year reign.

After they won the election, Nasheed and Waheed were sworn in on November 11, 2008, in a special session of the People's Majlis at Dharubaaruge. Waheed was inaugurated as the nation's first elected Vice President, the first to serve in the post after it was reinstated after over 50 years.[5]

Coup allegations and Presidency

On 7 February 2012, Waheed assumed the presidency following the disputed resignation of President Nasheed, who asserted that he was forced to resign at gunpoint in a coup d'état. A week later, protesters led by Waheed's London-based brother, Naushad Waheed, accused Mohammed Waheed of complicity in the alleged coup.[6] Waheed and his supporters, however, state that the transfer of power was voluntary and constitutional,[7][8] and have agreed to launch an independent review of the events surrounding Nasheed's resignation.[9]

BBC News reported that Waheed's subsequent appointment of several ministers associated with the former president Gayoom "raised eyebrows", and that "most believe other forces were at play" behind the protests that chased Nasheed from office.[10] On 11 February, Waheed offered a unity cabinet, but this offer was rejected by Nasheed's supporters.[11] On 19 February, Waheed appointed Gayoom's daughter Dhunya Maumoon to his cabinet, prompting a new round of criticism, but also appointed Shaheem Ali Saeed, who is "considered progressive".[12]

In the weeks following the alleged coup, Nasheed requested that the Commonwealth of Nations threaten the Maldives with expulsion unless new elections are held. The Commonwealth has supported Nasheed's call for early elections, calling on both Nasheed and Waheed to enter talks to arrange new polls before the year's end. Waheed said that early elections could be possible, but that "the conditions have to be right to ensure there will be free and fair elections".[13]

On 1 March, Waheed was blocked from opening the Maldivian Parliament by Nasheed supporters, who accusing him of breaking a promise to set a date for a new election.[7] On 19 March, he attempted to open parliament again and was once more blocked by hundreds of pro-Nasheed demonstrators, who were tear-gassed. Four opposition MPs were also removed from the building when they tried to physically assault Waheed during his speech.[14] Waheed responded with a speech calling for national unity.[14]

Other

According to Waheed's personal website, in 1978, he was the first person shown on the National Television TVM (Television Maldives), the nation's first television station. Acting as a news anchor, he introduced Ibrahim Shihab, who inaugurated the station.[1][2]

Family

He is married to Ilham Hussain, founder of Maldives Autism Association. Their three children are named Widhadh, Fidha and Jeffrey Salim.[1]

References

  1. "Dr. Waheed's biography". drwaheed.com. http://www.drwaheed.com/dr_waheeds_biography. Retrieved 31 March 2012.]
  2. Indrani Bagchi (8 February 2012). "Ex-TV host in Maldives hot seat". Times of India. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-02-08/south-asia/31037080_1_mohammed-waheed-hassan-maldivians-maumoon-abdul-gayoom. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  3. Mobhare Matinyi (9 February 2012). "When protestors, police oust the president". The Citizen. http://thecitizen.co.tz/editorial-analysis/47-columnists/19635-when-protestors-police-oust-the-president.html. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  4. [1] Interview with and Biography by Dhivehi Observer
  5. Nasheed sworn in as Maldives new President
  6. Alastair Lawson (14 May 2012). "Maldives president denounced in the UK by his brother". BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17353230. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  7. Vikas Bajaj (1 March 2012). "Protesters Block Maldives President From Parliament Address". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/world/asia/protesters-block-maldives-president-from-parliament-address.html. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  8. "Maldives parliament opening marred by clashes". BBC News. 19 March 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17430997. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  9. Amanda Hodge (13 February 2012). "New Maldives leader Mohamed Waheed Hassan appeals to Australia". The Australian. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/new-maldives-leader-mohamed-waheed-hassan-appeals-to-australia/story-e6frg6so-1226269114301. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  10. "Olivia Lang". BBC News. 17 February 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16950214. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  11. Vikas Bajaj (11 February 2012). "Party in Maldives Rejects Offer of a Unity Coalition". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/world/asia/new-president-of-maldives-meets-with-us-envoy.html. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  12. R.D. Radhakrishnan (19 February 2012). "Waheed defends Gayoom's daughter's induction". The Hindu. http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2910023.ece. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  13. "Maldives crisis: Commonwealth urges early elections". BBC News. 22 February 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17135582. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  14. "Maldives president opens Parliament despite vehement opposition protests". Associated Press. The Washington Post. 19 March 2012. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/maldives-police-use-tear-gas-as-protesters-try-to-stop-new-president-from-opening-parliament/2012/03/19/gIQA78vDMS_story.html. Retrieved 31 March 2012.