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Mohammed Waheed Hassan

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Mohammed Waheed Hassan
Mohammed Waheed Hassan.jpg
5th President of the Maldives
In office
7 February 2012 – 17 November 2013
Vice PresidentMohammed Waheed Deen
Preceded byMohamed Nasheed
Succeeded byAbdulla Yameen
2nd Vice President of the Maldives
In office
11 November 2008 – 7 February 2012
PresidentMohamed Nasheed
Preceded byIbrahim Muhammad Didi (1953)
Succeeded byMohammed Waheed Deen
Personal details
Born (1953-01-03) 3 January 1953 (age 66)
Malé, Maldives
Political partyProgressive Party of Maldives
Other political
National Unity Party
Spouse(s)Ilham Hussain
ChildrenWidhadh Waheed
Fidha Waheed
Salim Waheed
Alma materAmerican University of Beirut
Stanford University

Mohammed Waheed Hassan Manik (Dhivehi: ޑރ. މުޙައްމަދު ވަޙީދު ޙަސަން މަނިކު; Arabic: مُحَمَّد وَحِيد حَسَن مَانِيك; born 3 January 1953) was the 5th President of the Maldives from 7 February 2012 to 17 November 2013, having succeeded to office following the disputed resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed, under whom Waheed had served as the Maldives' first Vice President in over half a century since 2008. He had previously worked 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., and reportedly the first person to appear on Maldivian Television.

On 7 February 2012, he assumed the office of president following the resignation of the incumbent, Mohamed Nasheed, which took place under circumstances which have not been fully clarified. Waheed is alleged to have collaborated with the opposition in order to force Nasheed's resignation. Waheed was the first Maldivian Vice President to have fully succeeded to presidency, and he was to serve for the remainder of he presidential term until November 2013.

During his short tenure in office he was one of the most unpopular presidents the Maldives has had. When he stood for re-election to a full 5-year term in the 2013 election, he was defeated by a wide margin and finished as the least voted of the four candidates running, having received only a little over 5% of the vote. The results of that election were later annulled, however, and a re-run was held, but Waheed chose not to stand for election again.

Having taken office at the age of 59 years, and having left it at the age of 60 years and ten months, he is to date the oldest person to have served as President of the Maldives.

Early life and education and Honours[edit]

Waheed was born to Hassan Ibrahim Maniku and Aishath Moosa. He was the first of ten children. President Waheed attended the American University of Beirut for four years, studying for two of those years in the midst of the Lebanese civil war; completing a bachelor's degree in English Language as well as a diploma in teaching. By 1976, President Waheed returned home to the Maldives, and took up a post teaching the Language at Jamaaludheen School in Male’ (the capital of the Maldives). President Waheed taught many students who would become highly influential members of Maldivian society both in the Government, as well as in the private sector. Among his students is the popular television comedian Yoosuf Rafeeu (commonly known as Yoosay), along with members of the government such as the former Executive Secretary to the Parliament Abdullah Shahid. President Waheed also taught many senior civil servants such as the current Elections Commissioner and the Minister for Presidential Affairs Mohammed Hussein. During this time, President Waheed also helped develop the first English language curriculum in Maldivian schools.

By September 1976, President Waheed was granted a full scholarship to attend Stanford University in the United States. After completing his master's degree in education Planning in 1979, he returned home to the Maldives in order to begin working for the Ministry of Education. After his graduation, he remained in the United States for two more years due to the necessity of his newly born son to receive medical treatment. And although he had the opportunity to remain in the United States, he elected to return home, giving up his job as a project manager of a technology firm, in San Francisco. He went to Addu after that due to political issues.

On his return to Maldives from Addu(at the end of 1988), he became director of educational services in the Ministry of Education. He was placed in charge of the Ministry for several months as an Educational Minister was to be appointed. During this time he also served as a member of the National council for Dhivehi Language and Literature, a member of the Atolls Development Advisory board, and a member for the Maldives Youth council.

In June 2018, he was inducted into Power Brands LIFE – Hall of Fame at London International Forum for Equality.[1]

Early political career[edit]

In 2003, 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][clarification needed][not specific enough to verify]

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]

United Nations career[edit]

Waheed 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.[4] In 2001, he was 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.[4]

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.[4] 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[edit]

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). Waheed lost the leadership 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.[4]

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 the largest opposition party, Maldivian Democratic Party, only days before the deadline for the submission of the candidates names. Mohamed Nasheed who was elected as the presidential candidate of MDP chose Waheed as his vice 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 his vice, Waheed, were sworn in on 11 November 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 when it was reinstated after over 50 years.[5]

Coup allegations and presidency[edit]

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 own brother, Naushad Waheed, accused Mohammed Waheed of complicity in the alleged coup. Waheed was also criticised both by Nasheeds party and several Human Rights organizations and by the international community for several human rights violations during his term. [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 2012, Waheed was blocked from opening the Maldivian Parliament by Nasheed, who accused 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 Nasheed pro parliamentarians. Four opposition MPs were 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]

2013 Presidential candidacy[edit]

On 7 September 2013, Waheed stood as a candidate for the presidency of the Maldives. In his first independent bid for elected office, Waheed was routed in the four-way race which pitted him against three other candidates, amongst them, frontrunner and former president Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed finished in first place with 45.45% of all valid ballots cast (95,224 votes). Nasheed was trailed by Abdullah Yameen who received 25.40% of the vote share (53,099), Gasim Ibrahim of the Jumhooree Party who received 24.02% of all votes (50,422), and Waheed with only 5.13% of the votes (10,750).[15]

The fairness of the results of the 2013 elections has been challenged in the Supreme Court. Various reports suggest duplicates, names of deceased and underaged in the official voter list. Political leaders are insisting on a thorough investigation so as to prevent any vote rigging in the run off. On 24 September 2013 the Supreme Court injunction signed by the majority of four judges of the seven-judge bench asked the commission and relevant state institutions to delay the runoff until the court rules on the case filed by Jumhoory Party (JP) seeking annulment of the first round results alleging vote rigging.[16]

Waheed announced his withdrawal from the rerun of the 2013 presidential election later scheduled for 9 November 2013, after polling held on 7 September 2013 was annulled by the Supreme Court.[17]


He is married to Ilham Hussain, founder of Maldives Autism Association. They have three children: Widhadh, Fidha and Jeffrey Salim.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Indrani Bagchi (8 February 2012). "Ex-TV host in Maldives hot seat". Times of India. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  3. ^ Mobhare Matinyi (9 February 2012). "When protestors, police oust the president". The Citizen. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d "Dr. Kaalhu's biography". Retrieved 31 March 2012.]
  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. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  7. ^ a b Vikas Bajaj (1 March 2012). "Protesters Block Maldives President From Parliament Address". New York Times. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  8. ^ "Maldives parliament opening marred by clashes". BBC News. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  9. ^ Amanda Hodge (13 February 2012). "New Maldives leader Mohamed Waheed Hassan appeals to Australia". The Australian. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  10. ^ "Olivia Lang". BBC News. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  11. ^ Vikas Bajaj (11 February 2012). "Party in Maldives Rejects Offer of a Unity Coalition". New York Times. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  12. ^ R.D. Radhakrishnan (19 February 2012). "Waheed defends Gayoom's daughter's induction". The Hindu. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  13. ^ "Maldives crisis: Commonwealth urges early elections". BBC News. 22 February 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Maldives president opens Parliament despite vehement opposition protests". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
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  17. ^
Political offices
Preceded by
Ibrahim Muhammad Didi
Vice President of the Maldives
Succeeded by
Mohammed Waheed Deen
Preceded by
Mohamed Nasheed
President of the Maldives
Succeeded by
Abdulla Yameen