MALE: The Maldives government has agreed to conduct "early" elections to resolve the political impasse following the dramatic regime change in the island nation, Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said Thursday.
Mathai who was on a visit to the Maldives held talks with key political leaders, including ousted president Mohammed Nasheed and new president Mohammed Waheed Hassan.
"In the interests of national reconciliation and to encourage harmony between citizens, the government will hold discussions with all relevant parties to conduct elections by an early date," Mathai told reporters in Male.
He said President Hassan had agreed to work on holding polls "as early as considered feasible by all concerned".
"This is to be discussed by the parties."
"The government will work towards the conditions that will permit such elections to take place including any necessary constitutional amendments," said Mathai, who was scheduled to return home Thursday but had extended his trip.
India was earlier opposed to early elections in the Maldives but has now come to accept the idea which would help bring stability to the nation that depends on tourism for more than 60 percent of its GDP.
Mathai said during his talks with political figures, he reiterated India's "belief that there is need for a Maldivian led process for reconciliation and resolving political differences through constitutional means".
"There was a degree of convergence on how matters should be taken forward. The parties also agree to the need for maintenance of constitutional order. The president has come out with a roadmap for an inclusive political process which provides a very good basis for the parties to resolve their differences."