Asia

Maldives' first democratic leader, ex-strongman sign pact

The first democratically elected president of the Maldives says he has signed an agreement with his one-time archrival and former strongman to try to restore democracy in the archipelago state.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed said Saturday that the immediate target of the agreement, which was also signed by two opposition party leaders, is to form a majority in a parliament now controlled by lawmakers supporting President Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Nasheed said that as a result they would be able to reform institutions like the elections commission and the judiciary to enable a free and fair presidential election next year.

Nasheed defeated strongman ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, a half brother of the current president, in the country's first democratic election in 2008.