Maldives SC puts off presidential poll run-off
Male – The Maldives Supreme Court Sunday blocked a second-round run-off to elect the new president of the republic and postponed it till Nov 16 as the country’s vice president resigned amid deep political infighting.
Vice President Mohamed Waheed Deen’s resignation came after the country failed in its last-ditch attempt to elect a new president before the constitutional deadline of Nov 11, Xinhua reported.
According to the Maldives’ constitution, a new president has to be sworn in Nov 11. But the Supreme Court ordered that current President Mohammed Waheed should remain in power until the poll process is completed and a new president is installed.
Former president Mohammed Nasheed, the front-runner in the long-drawn-out race for the Maldives’ top-most post, has asked incumbent President Mohammed Waheed to resign and make way for a fresh replacement.
“If there is an election under Waheed, it would be unconstitutional and it will be difficult. We hope that he resigns Monday and we are seeking for an election where the Speaker of Parliament will be appointed as the head of state and he will oversee a transition of power,” Nasheed said.
Earlier, the Supreme Court ordered that by holding the run-off the very next day after the first round could undermine the constitutional rights of many people.
Hence the court finds that Nov 16 is the best date to hold the run-off, the order said.
“The order was issued after Jumhoory Party (JP) youth wing president Moosa Anwar asked the Supreme Court to postpone the run-off of the presidential re-vote scheduled for Sunday,” Haveeru online website reported.
In the presidential poll held Saturday, Nasheed garnered 46.93 percent of the votes cast but fell short of the 50 percent needed to win outright.
Nasheed was to face former president Abdul Gayoom’s half-brother Abdulla Yameen in a second round run-off Sunday.
This is the third attempt being made to elect a new president in the Indian Ocean republic of 1,192 small and big islands.
Political wrangling over the electoral list derailed a previous election Oct 19, which the police blocked at the last minute because the lists were not signed by Yameen and fellow candidate tycoon Gasim Ibrahim.
Gasim, who came in third in the latest round of polls with just 23.34 percent, has agreed to back Yameen in the run-off.
The first round of voting held Sep 7 saw Nasheed emerge as winner, but that poll was also later annulled by the Supreme Court after Gasim alleged large-scale rigging.