MALE, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Maldives police defended their move to stop presidential elections that were supposed to take place here on Saturday, insisting that a vote would have been "unlawful" and could have sparked "national instability."
Maldives police spokesman and Superintendent of Police Abdulla Nawaz told reporters that support could not have been given to an election that did not meet a 16-point guideline set by the Supreme Court ahead of the polls.
He insisted that article five of the Supreme Court guideline, which says candidates have to sign off on an all-important electoral list, was clearly not met after tycoon Gasim Ibrahim and former President Gayoom's half-brother MP Abdulla Yamin refused to abide by it.
Only former President Mohammad Nasheed who won the previous round of polling on Sept. 7 accepted the list citing errors as " negligible."
The first round of vote was annulled by the Supreme Court earlier this month and the guideline was set in place for the second round of voting. However the Elections Commission was only given 12 days to organize voting across 200 islands.
Embattled Maldives Elections Commissioner Fuad Thouwfeek accused the police of effectively stopping the vote by failing to provide the logistical assistance needed to hold presidential polling.
Thoufeek pointed out that in his interpretation the Supreme Court would have allowed the vote to go ahead even if the voter lists were unsigned, but police stopped the process by not allowing ballot papers and boxes to leave the Election Commission office.
"Maldives police service has in fact requested to the Elections Commission that police are having difficulties in supporting them in the polls. It is mainly because the Supreme Court ruling and guideline which states that all 16 points must be done," Nawaz noted, adding that support has been extended to the Elections Commission where possible.
He emphasized that the decision for the police not to assist the polling was taken after consultations with the National Security Council, attorney general, Maldives president and the acting home minister as well as the commonwealth advisor who has been assigned to oversee the elections.
"We are totally independent as an institution but we have to rely on the Supreme Court ruling and we are following that," he stressed.
"I believe police have to take responsibility of the security of the elections," he went on to say, but pointed out that citizens have to decide whether or not they want elections held in violation of Supreme Court orders and the Constitution.
The deadlock means Maldives has only two weeks to hold a third round of polling to elect a president and install him before the constitutional deadline of Nov. 11.
The international community led by India and the United States had been pushing for elections as scheduled but have achieved little 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 infighting since former President Mohammad Nasheed was controversially ousted from power in February 2012.
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