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Maldives faces presidential poll on Saturday

Male, Sep 5 (): After a violent change in leadership 18 months month, Maldives goes to the polls on Saturday for a presidential election. This is the first such poll since former President Mohamed Nasheed was ousted in disputed circumstances early last year.

The head of the Commonwealth Observer Group in the Maldives after travelling across nine islands to assess the situation, including free and fair campaigning said he’s satisfied the republic is ready to hold presidential elections this weekend.

Totally, 17 Commonwealth team members travelled across the islands.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for a credible and peaceful Presidential election in Maldives that is scheduled for Saturday. Ban in a statement insisted all the candidates and stakeholders to overcome their past differences and respect the election results ‘no matter who wins’.

A statement issued by the spokesperson of the Secretary General said Ban urged all Maldivians to work together in a constructive manner toward national harmony and democratic consolidation. Further, he highlighted, in particular, the need for a renewed commitment to the institutional reform process.

Thoriq Hamed, from Transparency Maldives, an election monitoring group, said campaigning by former president Mohamed Nasheed, former vice-president Mohamed WaheedWaheed and the two other candidates had so far taken place “smoothly and peacefully”. The other candidates are Gasim Ibrahim, a resort tycoon and one of the country’s richest men, and Abdulla Yameen, the wealthy half-brother of former autocrat Gayoom.

Former president Mohamed Nasheed, a scuba-diving former democracy activist, won the Maldives’ first free vote in 2008, but resigned last year after a mutiny by police officers.

Nasheed says the abuse of power charges against him are politically motivated. The 46-year-old condemned it as a coup, saying he was forced to step down at gunpoint, and accused then Vice-president Mohamed Waheed of conspiring with former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to replace him.

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