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Mohammed Waheed: 'Democracy will go forward'

Facing a crucial election, the president of the Maldives discusses his agenda and the future of democracy.

Last Modified: 07 Sep 2013 10:45
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He took office in a contentious power transfer in 2012 - Mohammed Waheed, the president of the Maldives, was accused by the opposition of seizing power in an illegal coup.

My feeling is that this is going to be another coalition government.

Mohammed Waheed

But he denies the accusations: "It wasn't a coup and he [former president Mohammed Nasheed] was not ousted ... he resigned on his own ... The only pressure he had was from street protests, there was no other force on him."

Waheed is now running in a national election against three other candidates, one of which is his old boss and the former president of the Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed.

There have been months of intermittent protests and sporadic violence, triggered when the previous government was ousted.

So after a year and a half of political instability people in the Maldives are voting on who they want to lead their country next. They are hoping that the presidential election will bring back stability and economic security.

The stakes are high for this election - only the second since democracy was introduced to the country.

The economy is in bad shape, with high unemployment and inflation, and religious conservatism is on the rise.

So if elected, can Waheed unite a deeply polarised people? And can he bring back democracy and stability to the island nation?

The president of the Maldives talks to Al Jazeera about his political agenda, the elections and the future of democracy in his country.

"It is really important for us that this election is free and fair and transparent. And that's why the government has invited election observers from outside .... I will respect the outcome of the election and I will support and work with whoever wins this election. It's really important that democracy works, the transition to democracy is not easy."

Mohammed Waheed

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Al Jazeera
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