US urges Maldives to hold speedy run-off after polls
Washington: The United States has urged the Maldives to carry out a decisive presidential run-off without delay after elections failed to deliver a clear winner.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki praised yesterday`s polls in the Indian Ocean nation as "successful" and said the run-off should take place as scheduled today.
The US comments came after second placed Abdulla Yameen insisted he needed more time to face yesterday`s winner Mohamed Nasheed in a run-off.
"It is now imperative that the second round take place immediately and in line with Elections Commission directions in order to ensure the Maldivian people are led by an elected president of their choice," Psaki said.
"It is unreasonable and unacceptable for parties to continue to demand changes to an agreed election date. Changing the goalposts is unfair to Maldivian voters; we believe Maldivians deserve better," she added.
Nasheed`s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) congratulated their run-off partner Yameen, the half brother of former autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
But the MDP said it was imperative to hold elections today and ensure a new president was in office by a constitutionally mandated November 11 deadline.
A previous election held on September 7 was also won by Nasheed, the country`s first democratically elected leader who ended the 30-year rule of strongman Gayoom in 2008.
However, that vote was annulled by the country`s Supreme Court which held there were irregularities in electoral lists despite international observers declaring that the ballot was credible, free and fair.
A second election on October 19 was also stopped by police saying Nasheed`s opponents had not agreed to the voter lists as required by the Supreme Court.
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