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Maldives police stop presidential re-voting

Male, Oct 19 (): Maldives police on Saturday blocked officials from conducting a presidential re-vote, saying that holding the election would violate a Supreme Court order.

Electoral commission head said police had entered his offices and were stopping officials distributing election materials. The Maldives police insisted a vote would have been “unlawful” and could have sparked “national instability”.

Maldives police spokesman and Superintendent of Police Abdulla Nawaz told reporters that support could not have been given to an election that did not meet the 16-point poll guideline set by Supreme Court of the country.

An all-party meeting arranged by the Maldives Elections Commission (ECM) on Friday night ended in a standstill with two parties, the PPM and the JP, insisting that they needed more time to study the voters list ahead of giving their consent.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, who became the first democratically elected leader of the nation in 2008, left office in 2012 under disputed circumstances.

This poll is the country’s second in six weeks after the Supreme Court cancelled the results of a Sept. 7 vote. The court had ordered fresh polls after hearing a petition on allegations of electoral fraud made by third placed candidate Qasim Ibrahim’s Jumhoory Party (JP).

President Mohamed Waheed’s period ends on November 11. As per the original schedule, the first round was scheduled and held on September 7. MDP’s Mohamed Nasheed headed the field in this round, winning more than 45 per cent of the vote. A candidate needs a clear 50 per cent plus one vote to be declared a winner. A second round was to be held on September 28.

The September 7 polls were annulled by the Supreme Court, agreeing with a losing candidate, Qasim Ibrahim, that the polls were not free and fair, despite over a 100 international observers certifying that the process was transparent and devoid of major issues.

All eyes are now focussed on the Supreme Court. It had earlier ordered that a first round should be held by October 20. It will have to revisit the verdict.

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