New Delhi: India on Saturday said it was "deeply disappointed" over the blocking of a key presidential revote in the Maldives and called on all stakeholders in the Indian Ocean nation to fulfil their responsibility and ensure the election was completed "without further delay".
Hours after Maldivian police blocked the revote, Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement urging for the election to be properly concluded.
"India calls upon the Government of Maldives and all parties concerned to fulfil their responsibility towards the people of the Maldives by playing a constructive role in the election process and by fully assisting the (Maldivian) Election Commission in holding the Presidential polls without further delay," said the MEA statement.
It also stressed that the process be put back on track immediately so as to enable a new President to be elected before Nov 11.
"Keeping in mind the wishes and aspirations of the people of Maldives, who have so far shown admirable patience and restraint, it is important that the electoral process is put back on track immediately with a definite timeline so that a new president is elected and sworn in on November 11, 2013 as mandated by the constitution," the statement added.
Minutes before the revote was to start this morning, police blocked EC officials from holding the same.
In a televised speech, EC head Fuwad Thowfeek said that police entered his offices and stopped officials from distributing poll material.
A police spokesperson said they had consulted President Mohammed Waheed, the Security Council and the Home Ministry before acting.
"India is deeply disappointed that the repeat first round of the Presidential elections was not held as scheduled today and that the Election Commission was not allowed to proceed with holding elections as per its constitutional mandate," the statement said.
"India and the international community have been closely
watching the developments in the Maldives and are seriously concerned at the attempts to stall the democratic process," the statement said.
Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, who had visited the island nation on Thursday and met leaders of various political parties, said that people had high expectations of democracy and that was reflected in the high turnout of 88 per cent for the first round of polling last month.
The Maldives has been in turmoil since Nasheed was removed from the post of President last year.
Last week, the Supreme Court annulled results of the first round of polling and ordered fresh polls before Oct. 20 after hearing a petition on alleged electoral fraud filed by the third-placed candidate, Gasim Ibrahim.
Nasheed pushed for today`s revote but two other candidates, Ibrahim and Abdulla Yameen, who trailed him in the first round of balloting, did not want the polling to go ahead.
In the first round, Nasheed bagged 45.45 per cent of the votes. However, a candidate needs to cross the 50 per cent mark for the poll process to be complete.
Incumbent President Waheed`s term ends on Nov 11 If no new candidate is elected before that, there are fears that it might spark a constitutional crisis in the nascent democracy.