MALE, Oct. 19 (Xinhua)-- Former Maldives president staged a sit in Saturday to protest the calling off of presidential elections at the last minute by the Elections Commissioner citing interference by the police as political infighting tensed the capital.
Former President Mohammad Nasheed who was controversially ousted from power in February 2012 and bagged 45.45 percent of the vote during the previous round of polling on Sept. 7 staged a sit- in in the middle of the Male city surrounded by his supporters.
Nasheed chatted with supporters while speeches demanding elections were announced on loud speakers.
Supporters holding signs that read"We want elections now"and"A vote delayed is a vote denied"blocked the streets, causing traffic jams.
Nasheed declined to address media during the protest but it was clear that the demand was for the resumption of the electoral process.
Police who arrived at the scene were hooted at by the crowds and small contingents of army were seen deployed around the president's house.
The first round of results were annulled by the Supreme Court after two other candidates alleged mass scale vote rigging.
The Supreme Court then released a 16 point guideline for the second round of polling that was to take place Saturday.
But voting was stalled again after presidential candidate tycoon Gasim Ibrahim and former president Abdul Gayoom's half- brother MP Abdulla Yamin refused to sign on an all-important electoral list.
Last minute attempts by Maldives Elections Commissioner Fuad Thaufeek to hold elections on Saturday morning were thwarted by police who withdrew assistance to distribute ballot papers and boxes across 200 islands effectively stopping the polling.
Meanwhile, Indian External Affairs Ministry has expressed deep disappointment that the repeat first round of the presidential elections was not held as scheduled and that the elections commission was not allowed to proceed with holding elections as per its constitutional mandate. "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," the statement said.
They called for speedy resolution of the standoff and assist the Elections Commission to hold polls.
The Maldives has only 14 more days to elect a president before the constitutional deadline of Nov. 11.
Outgoing President Mohammad Waheed has called for the elections to be held on Oct. 26 and has already held discussions with the Elections Commissioner.
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MALE, Oct. 18 (Xinhua)-- There is still a cloud of uncertainty as to whether the fresh presidential polls scheduled for Saturday would push through after candidates continued their wrangling Friday, just a day before the actual balloting.
If the new polls would be postponed, it could plunge the idyllic Indian Ocean group of islands into another political deadlock. Full story