Dubai: The Maldives' new leader said a presidential election could be held before the scheduled date of October 2013 provided conditions were right for a free and peaceful poll, after his predecessor quit last week amid a dramatic police mutiny.   

Mohamed Waheed Hussain Manik, previously vice president, took over after the Feb. 7 resignation of Mohamed Nasheed, the Maldives' first democratically elected president.   

Nasheed says he was ousted in a coup by mutinying police and military officers, who forced him to step down.   

He has demanded Waheed hand power to the speaker of parliament and call a new presidential election in two months. A senior U.S. diplomat on Saturday said most of the people he talked with on the Indian Ocean islands said it was not possible to have free and fair elections within two months.     

Waheed suggested that polls could be brought forward, but did not specify a date.   

"At the moment, the election is scheduled for late 2013, more than a year and a half from now. If we agree to bring it forward we will have a discussion with all political parties, but the conditions have to be right to ensure there will be free and fair elections," Waheed told Reuters on the phone from Male, the capital of the 1,200-island nation.   

"We need to make sure that there is continuation of peace. It is really important to bring back confidence and create rule of law."