Maldives SC tells security forces to enforce order on polls

Maldives SC tells security forces to enforce order on polls

The Maldives Supreme Court Friday ordered the security forces to arrest anyone attempting to defy the court's injunction delaying the second round of the presidential poll.

The Supreme Court order came after election commissioner Fuad Thaufeeg Thursday announced that the second round poll would proceed as scheduled Saturday, Xinhua reported.

This was in defiance of a Supreme Court order issued Monday delaying the runoff until the court rules on the plea filed by Jumhoory Party presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim seeking annulment of the first round alleging vote rigging.

Vice president of the election commission Ahmed Fayaz Hassan told local media outlet Haveeru that the commission was only working towards holding a runoff, expecting the verdict in the case to come at any time.

However, after the latest order of the court, all preparations for the runoff have been halted, Fayaz said.

Following Fuad's announcement Thursday evening, the commission had called an emergency sit-down.

After the meeting, Fuad had said a "definite decision has not been made".

The Election Commission is expected to have a final meeting Friday to take a final decision on voting. 

Fuad had hinted that the commission was obligated to hold the runoff Saturday and the court did not have the authority to order otherwise.

Scattered protests erupted in the Maldives by supporters of ousted President Nasheed this week after the Supreme Court decision.

Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected president, obtained 45.45 percent of the vote to win the first round of voting Sep 7.

However, he failed to get a crucial 50 percent mandate that would have negated the need for a second round. 

Nasheed's party has pledged continuous protests till a date for the elections is announced and insisted that the first round of voting was free and fair.

The Commonwealth, the US, European Union, United Nations, India and Australia have called for the swift resumption of polls and have warned of an outbreak of violence if delays continue.

However, incumbent President Mohamad Waheed has condemned the criticism from the international community.

"Irresponsible statements by foreign governments and international organisations would not be helpful in consolidating democracy in the country," President Waheed said in a statement Wednesday.

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