New Delhi, May 14 - Stressing that Maldives is today more democratic than ever before, President Mohamed Waheed said he is "all for" free and fair elections but indicated that the polls will take place only next year.
Waheed, who is here on his first foreign trip since becoming President in a tumultuous regime change in February, said at a press conference here that during his meetings here he has assured that Maldives will honour all agreements and in return also got reassurances of strong Indian support for his country.
The Maldivian President held talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during which he briefed Singh of the political situation in his country and sought financial assistance from New Delhi. Maldives is facing a budget deficit of USD 500 million.
Waheed also made it clear that India was not pushing Maldives to do anything "against the Constitution" on holding presidential elections.
"I am all for free and fair elections. I can assure you that there will be elections in Maldives as early as the Constitution of the country shall allow. Any earlier than that... we will have to look into political considerations in the country. Coalition partners are not in agreement over an earlier election than July of next year, partly because they themselves are not ready for it," Waheed said.
Explaining that Maldives had a Presidential system rather than a parliamentary, Waheed said any early election would warrant numerous political changes including amendment in the constitution to give a five-year term to the President.
He said he will invite observers from foreign countries during the elections.
The 59-year-old President also said his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed "drove away" his coalition partners while in power. PTI