Maldives’ New President Expands Cabinet

Posted February 12th, 2012 at 5:40 am (UTC-5)
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Maldives' new president has expanded his Cabinet. President Mohammed Waheed Hassan swore in six new ministers and an attorney general, drawn from different political parties, Sunday in the capital, Male.

The new appointees are heading up the ministries of economic development, education, health, tourism, transportation and the combined youth and sports bureau.

Ousted President Mohamed Nasheed told supporters at a rally Saturday night in the capital that he has rejected a U.S. call for compromise and had dismissed proposals for a unity government to end political unrest in the Indian Ocean nation.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake said Saturday, after meeting with Mr. Nasheed, that the island group was not ready for the early elections suggested by its former president.

Blake said the police, the election commission and the judiciary are not sufficiently prepared for a free and fair election process. He urged broad compromise between political players as they sort out how they will proceed.

Earlier Saturday, President Hassan told the U.S. official that he has agreed to a probe about his political takeover. President Nasheed resigned under duress on Tuesday, but later said he had been the subject of a military-backed coup. His former deputy, Mr. Hassan, was sworn in as president hours later.

Washington recognized Mr. Hassan's administration Thursday, but then stepped back from the declaration, saying circumstances surrounding the transfer of power needed to be “clarified.”

Mr. Nasheed has expressed disappointment with the U.S. stance. He has maintained the new president was involved in helping remove him from office, allegations Mr. Hassan has denied.