Maldives President Mohammed Waheed calls for fresh election by October 26

Last Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 09:24

Male: Outgoing President Mohammed Waheed on Saturday asked the Maldives` Elections Commission (EC) to find a way to hold a "free, fair, and inclusive" presidential poll as early as possible, preferably on October 26.
Waheed met EC members this afternoon to discuss the future course of action after a presidential revote was blocked by police, a statement issued by his office said.

"President Dr Mohamed Waheed is concerned that the presidential election could not be held as scheduled. The President is fully committed to holding a free, fair, and inclusive election, where none of the candidates boycott it," the statement said.

Waheed asked the EC to consult presidential candidates and find a way forward to hold the polls as early as possible, preferably next Saturday.

"The President urges on all three candidates and political parties to find a solution to the current disagreement," the statement said.

Earlier today, the scheduled revote was blocked at the last minute by police, plunging the country into fresh political uncertainty and triggering demands by former President Mohamed Nasheed`s Maldivian Democratic Party for international intervention.

Minutes before balloting was to start this morning, the EC issued a statement saying police had blocked its officials from conducting the revote.

Police spokesman Abdulla Nawaz said polling was stopped because the EC did not comply with a court order to have the voters` rolls endorsed by all the presidential candidates. He said police acted after consulting President Waheed, the security council and the Home Ministry.

The EC accused police of undermining its independence. "Whether or not polls is held or not is now at the hands of the police," EC head Fuwad Thowfeek said.

The MDP, which led in the first round of balloting on September 7, called for international intervention. "There is no other way but international intervention. We are waiting for the international community to realise to get into action, otherwise we are another Burma," said MDP spokesman Abdul Gafur.

The Maldives has been in turmoil since Nasheed was removed from the post of President last year. Nasheed pushed for today`s revote but two candidates, Gasim Ibrahim and Abdulla Yameen, who trailed him in the first round of balloting did not want the polling to go ahead.

PTI

First Published: Saturday, October 19, 2013 - 18:24

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