Uncertainty prevails in Maldives on poll eve
The Maldives was in the grip of political uncertainty Friday, a day ahead of the rerun of the first round of its presidential election, with authorities facing eleventh hour hiccups.
Male: The Maldives was in the grip of political uncertainty Friday, a day ahead of the rerun of the first round of its presidential election, with authorities facing eleventh hour hiccups.
The new election, which should happen Oct 19, have been bogged down on technical details and legal bottlenecks with the Elections Commission only given 12 days to prepare.
Former president Mohammad Nasheed Friday called upon incumbent President Mohamed Waheed to become "engaged" in the election process after meeting with the Elections Commissioner to discuss how to proceed with polling after two presidential candidates refused to sign all-important electoral lists, Xinhua reported.
The fresh first round of presidential elections was ordered by the Supreme Court earlier this month after the results of the previous polling Sep 7 were annulled over allegations of mass vote rigging.
Abdulla Yamin of Jumhoori Party, who came second after the Sep 7 polling, and Gasim Ibrahim of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), who was third, have refused to sign the electoral lists saying these needed to be validated first.
However, former president Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has signed the voters` lists and insisted that these were largely error-free.
Nasheed continues to be impressively popular having won the first round with 45.45 percent of the vote.
Maldives police too Friday informed the Elections Commission it might not be able to conduct an efficient election as candidate wrangling over the electoral lists makes fresh presidential polls increasingly unlikely.
Police have pointed out that there is insufficient time to deliver the voters` lists and ballot slips to all polling stations across 200 islands in the Maldives for voting to begin Saturday morning.
In accordance with the Supreme Court verdict that announced the fresh round of polling, the police have been entrusted with the task of transporting the voters` lists and ballots to polling stations safely.
Police in a statement said speedboats were on standby since Wednesday to deliver the lists and ballots to the islands.
However, considering the weather and the time it would take to reach various islands, timely delivery of the lists and ballots could be undermined if departure did not start by Friday morning.
Meanwhile, Maldives President Waheed, who withdrew from the race after a dismal performance in the Sep 7 first phase poll, Friday appealed to all parties to come together and elect the next head of state.
"I urge all parties, candidates and state institutions to work together to establish a conducive and peaceful atmosphere in order to hold free and fair elections,” Xinhua quoted Waheed as saying.
“It is also my request to make arrangements in a way that the rights of any citizen of this country are not undermined," he added in the statement.
India and the US have called for the polling to resume at the earliest possible opportunity.
Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh arrived in the island country Wednesday and held discussions with the candidates as well as President Waheed in an attempt to push forward with the elections but so far has had little success.