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Maldivian MPs sack attorney general who blocked vote

AFP | Last Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 00:43

Colombo: The Maldivian parliament on Tuesday sacked the country`s attorney general, who had supported the Supreme Court`s annulling of presidential elections that were won by the opposition leader.

Law makers voted 41-5 to oust Attorney General Azima Shakoor on charges that she wrongfully intervened to secure the cancellation of the September 7 vote.

Shakoor had backed the complaint of the third-placed Qasim Ibrahim, a resort owner and business tycoon, that there were irregularities in the balloting despite international observers giving it a clean chit.

The Supreme Court`s scrapping of the vote has led to uncertainty in a country gripped by unrest since the former president was toppled in what he claimed was a coup in February 2012.

Fresh elections ordered for October 19 were also called off at the 11th hour, after two of the three candidates who were expected to lose said they did not approve the list of voters, a requirement ordered by courts.

Former leader Mohamed Nasheed was expected to lead in the new elections too, after having secured 45.45 percent of the popular vote in the first, annulled round of voting. His nearest rival had received just over 25 percent.

Shakoor told reporters in the capital Male that she acted within the law, and defended her decision to support the election annulment.

"It is not the Majlis (parliament) that I will be held accountable to on the day after tomorrow," she said. "It is to Allah."

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) lawmakers had the support of several government backers in the no confidence vote against Shakoor.

The Maldives has scheduled another presidential election for November 9, but if no candidate gets 50 percent at the rescheduled polls, a runoff is due on November 16.

The Indian Ocean island nation, which is better known for its luxury tourism, is under international pressure to hold elections and ensure stability.

First Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 00:43
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