MALE, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Embattled Maldives Elections Commissioner Fuad Thaufeek called off his country's presidential polls just an hour ahead of voting on Saturday, citing technical wrangling over the electoral list by two candidates and lack of support from the police.
The issue over when the next round will be held will now go back to the Supreme Court for deliberations.
However, since the Maldives Constitution demands a new president be sworn in by Nov. 11 and the Elections Commissioner noted that instead of the customary two rounds, polling may be reduced to just one round due to the pressing time.
A previous round of voting held on Sept. 7 was annulled by the Supreme Court after two candidates alleged mass scale vote rigging though international monitors said polling was free and fair.
"We will not be able to hold the elections today because the police services blocked our work. There are a lot of police officers on the ground floor at this building and they won't allow any of our staff to take out ballot papers or boxes. So we are not able to move out any of the items required for the voting," Thaufeek said.
He insisted that his office had made preparations to have elections across 200 islands even with the delay caused by two presidential candidates.
Tycoon Gasim Ibrahim's party and the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) who was wielding former President Gayoom's half- brother MP Abdulla Yamin both refused to sign the all-important electoral list on Friday, throwing the elections into doubt.
Gasim even filed a stay order at the Supreme Court just hours ahead of polling seeking a cancellation to the elections.
Nonetheless, Houfeek said he believes that the vote could have gone ahead with the support of the Supreme Court.
"What I found is that the Supreme Court said that nothing to stop the elections, it is a sign to go ahead with the election, that is my interpretation," he said.
However, the elections had to be postponed for lack of support from the police.
Asked for the main reason why elections were not held, Thoufeek said it was due to police interference.
"No Cooperation from the police services because according to the verdict of the Supreme Court the police services are supposed to provide us security, especially in the movement of ballot boxes and the police refused to let us move ballot boxes to different atolls," he told reporters.
The international community led by India and the United States had been pushing for elections as scheduled but without success.
Maldives President Mohammad Waheed who withdrew from the race on Friday called on candidates to work together to hold elections.
The Maldives has been under the cloud of political wrangling since former President Mohammad Nasheed was controversially ousted from power in February 2012.
Nasheed who won the first round of polling on Sept. 7 bagged 45.45 percent of the vote and was the only candidate to sign the electoral list. He urge for elections to be held on time.
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