Ex-TV host and VP, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, sworn in as Maldives president after dramatic resignation

The former television host and Vice-President of the Maldives, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, was sworn in as President of the Indian Ocean archipelago on Tuesday afternoon, following the dramatic resignation of Mohamed Nasheed earlier that day.

The Times of India reports
that Waheed’s first action as president was to post a message to the people, pleading for a calm transition of power.

“At this time I call upon all the institutions especially law enforcement agencies (the military) to uphold the constitution and the laws of the country,” the newspaper quotes him as saying.

"Refrain from obeying unconstitutional and illegal instructions. During this difficult time no chance should be given to anyone trying to hurt the people of our country,” he said.

The BBC reports
that Waheed said he intended to form a government of national unity, and confirmed presidential elections would go ahead in 2013 as planned.

Waheed’s predecessor, Nasheed, had been facing increasing pressure to stand down in recent weeks, after ordering the arrest of a senior judge, Abdulla Mohamed. The issue had divided the government and prompted weeks of demonstrations by both supporters and opponents of Nasheed.

More from GlobalPost: Fresh calls for Maldives’ army to release senior judge

More from GlobalPost: Mohammed Nasheed, Maldives’ leader, resigns amid crisis

The BBC reports
that Nasheed's Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) accused the opposition of staging a coup. Earlier on Tuesday, a group of officers took control of the state broadcaster in the capital, Male, and urged people to come on the streets to overthrow Nasheed.

“It was not a coup at all; it was the wish of the people," Ahmed Thoufeeg, Hassan's secretary said in The Times of India.

AP says
that Waheed was the first Maldivian to earn a doctorate from Stanford University in California. He has worked with the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, in Tanzania, Bangladesh and New York, and was the Maldives’first ever television anchor. 

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.