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Indian Foreign Secretary in Maldives ahead of presidential poll

India has called for called for completion of the electoral process by Nov 11 as stipulated by the Maldives constitution.



New Delhi: India has rushed Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh to Maldives ahead of Saturday`s repeat presidential election as President Mohammed Waheed expressed doubts over the credibility of the election process.

Singh arrived in Male Wednesday evening, official sources said.

Saturday`s election process is fraught with uncertainty after the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) refused to withdraw a case filed in the apex court challenging the candidacy of opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate and former president Mohammed Nasheed.

PPM party candidate Abdulla Yaameen had come in second with 24 percent votes in the first and now annulled round of presidential poll held Sep 7.

The PPM council member Ibrahim `Wadde` Waheed filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Oct 10 that states as grounds for stripping Nasheed`s candidacy his "outright criticism towards Islam and imposing Islamic Sharia in the Maldives" and his criticism of the judiciary.

President Waheed, who earlier this week withdrew from the presidential election after a poor showing in the first round, Wednesday questioned the integrity of the Oct 19 election and claimed that "division and vengeance were now widespread in society " and that "it had now become very difficult to differentiate between fact and fabrication".

Nasheed had bagged 45 percent vote in the first round, short of the 50 percent required to be declared winner.

India has called for called for completion of the electoral process by Nov 11 as stipulated by the Maldives constitution. If no candidate crosses the halfway mark, like it happened in the first round, run-off elections will be held on Nov 4.

IANS

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