Maldives: Disappointed India insists on time-bound polls

Last Updated 19 October 2013, 16:18 IST

With Maldives failing to have polls today, India expressed deep disappointment and concern over "attempts to stall the democratic process" and asked all stakeholders there to ensure that the new President is sworn in on November 11 as mandated by the Constitution.

External Affairs Ministry said the government and all political parties of Maldives should fulfil their responsibility towards people and put the electoral process back on track immediately with a definite timeline.

"India is deeply disappointed that the repeat first round of the Presidential elections was not held as scheduled today... and that the Election Commission was not allowed to proceed with holding elections as per its Constitutional mandate," the Ministry said in a statement.

"India and the international community have been closely watching the developments in Maldives and are seriously concerned at the attempts to stall the democratic process," it said.

The MEA reaction came hours after police blocked a re-vote in Maldives. The re-vote was necessitated because of annulment of the balloting held on September 7 in which no candidate crossed the mandatory 50 per cent mark even though former President Mohamed Nasheed got 45.45 per cent.

"Keeping in mind the wishes and aspirations of the people of Maldives, who have so far shown admirable patience and restraint, it is important that the electoral process is put back on track immediately with a definite timeline so that a new President is elected and sworn in on November 11, 2013 as mandated by the constitution," the MEA said.

"India calls upon the Government of Maldives and all parties concerned to fulfil their responsibility towards the people of the Maldives by playing a constructive role in the election process and by fully assisting the (Maldivian) Election Commission in holding the Presidential polls without further delay," it added.

Underlining that people of Maldives should decide their future, the MEA said, "their strong desire to elect a new president is evident from the turnout of 88 per cent in the first round of elections held on September 7, 2013, which was considered free and fair by the large contingent of international and domestic observers present."

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, who visited Maldives on Thursday and met leaders from across political spectrum, said yesterday that India wants to see transparent, free and fair elections that will bring a stable government in that country by the scheduled date of November 11.

She said the people of Maldives have high expectations in democracy which was revealed by the high turnout of 88 per cent in the first round of polling last month.

"India's interest is in a stable, peaceful and progressive Maldives. To this end, we want transparent and free and fair democratic polls that will bring a stable government," she had said.

(Published 19 October 2013, 13:17 IST)

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