Maldives SC delays presidential run-off, Nasheed cries foul

Maldives SC delays presidential run-off, Nasheed cries foul

A day after the Maldivian Supreme Court indefinitely postponed the second round of presidential elections scheduled for September 28, former President Mohammed Nasheed-led Maldivian Democratic Party today slammed the decision as "unconstitutional".

The Supreme Court deferred the second round indefinitely yesterday on the plea of Jumhooree Party (JP) which stood third and missed the chance of a run-off with Nasheed in the second round by a whisker.

The orders came within hours of Majlis, Maldives' Parliament, passing a resolution in which it called upon all the state institutions to ensure that the second round takes place, as scheduled, on September 28.

The decision resulted in scattered protests here by MDP supporters even as the situation was calm.

The injunction was vetted by majority of seven-member bench which was hearing the plea of JP which demanded annulment of the first round results alleging vote rigging.
Following the orders of the Supreme Court, Election Commission has brought to pause all the preparations related to the second round of polls which was necessitated as none of the four contenders could garner crucial 51 per cent of total votes, local daily Haveeru reported here.

Nasheed, 46, who led the first round with over 45 per cent of the votes, has to face in the second round the Progressive Party of Maldives candidate Abdullah Yameen who was the runner up in the first phase held on September 7.

Terming the decision to postpone second round as "unconstitutional", MDP said it would carry out country-wide peaceful protests against the decision.

"This is unconstitutional...This Supreme Court judgement is a response to legislature opposition to the coup. We passed a resolution yesterday calling on state institutions to ensure elections as scheduled," Member of Parliament and MDP's international affairs spokesperson Abdul Ghafoor told PTI.

In a statement, MDP said, "All local and international observers, including those from Transparency Maldives, the United Nations, the Commonwealth and India praised the first round of elections as free and fair and without incident."

"As stated by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in July 2012, the MDP strongly believes the Supreme Court in particular needs 'radical readjustment.'
"The Committee said, As 6 of 7 Supreme Court judges are experts in Sharia law and nothing more, this court in particular is in need of radical readjustment. This must be done to guarantee just trials and fair judgements for the people of Maldives", it said.

The political scene in the archipelago nation has been in a state of flux since February 2012 when Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected President, was forced to resign in duress. He was succeeded by his Vice-President Mohammed Waheed.
The first round of elections which came under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court have been hailed by international community and observers which have thronged the island nation to monitor the elections.

In an endorsement of the electoral process, Commonwealth Secretary-General's Special Envoy Sir Donald McKinnon said the election marked a renewal of the country's democratic credentials, with an 88 per cent voter turnout.
India and other international agencies including the UN which were part of over 100 international observers have appealed to all parties to respect the will of people expressed through results.

India has asked all sides to respect the verdict and aspirations of the people of Maldives.

Transparency Maldives which was one of the observers had said that it did not find "any evidence" supporting the claims of fraud in the first round of presidential polls.

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