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Maldives Supreme Court postpones presidential run-off vote to Nov 16

Male, Nov 11 (): Political turmoil in Maldives continues as the country’s Supreme Court has ordered the postponement of scheduled run-off for the controversy-ridden presidential re-vote that was due to take place on Sunday to November 16.

The Supreme Court’s order stated that by holding the run-off the very next day to the first round could undermine the constitutional rights of many people. It ordered all state institutions to have the second round of polls on November 16, saying it finds Saturday “the best date to hold the run-off”.

This weekend’s poll was the third attempt to elect a new president in Maldives in as many months, but the democratic process once again broke down by arguing between political factions.

The delay makes it unclear who will actually be in charge of the country from Monday, when the mandatory steps down.

At midnight on November 10, the current President’s term ends and he has said he has no desire to continue in office beyond that date. But, in a separate ruling on Saturday, the top court had said the current President can stay in power after the constitutionally mandated deadline.

In yesterday’s crucial re-vote, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chief ex-President Mohammed Nasheed won the fresh first round on Saturday by more than what he had in the invalid vote held on September 7 but failed to clinch 50 per cent of the votes to avoid a run-off.

The 46-year-old former president bagged 46.4 per cent of the votes, a marginal increase from his previous tally of 45.45 per cent votes in the September 7 polls that were cancelled by the Supreme Court in which Nasheed had emerged the front-runner.

A September 7 vote was cancelled based on a secret police report which found vote rigging while an October poll was stopped by police after a Supreme Court ruling.

In 2008, Mohammed Nasheed was elected as the first democratically chosen President of the country. He resigned in February 2012 in what he describes as a coup at gunpoint.