Maldives asks for support after election annulled by court
By Mohamed Visham, AFPMALE, Maldives--The Maldives government on Tuesday urged all parties to support fresh elections after the Supreme Court annulled last month's results, even though international observers had said those polls were free and fair.
October 9, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
The government of the honeymoon islands also called for foreign support for the new presidential polls expected to be held by Oct. 20 amid deepening international concern about political turmoil in the country.
The court late Monday ordered a fresh ballot, annulling the first round of voting on Sept. 7 which was won by former leader Mohamed Nasheed who claims he was ousted in a coup last year.
The court cited allegations of electoral fraud in the September poll, which was intended to install a legitimate government after a violent change of power in Feb. 2012 when Nasheed stepped down following a mutiny by police.
The government said in a statement it “seeks support of friendly governments and international organizations to assist the government and all related parties ... and encourage everyone concerned to respect and abide by the Supreme Court ruling.”
President Mohamed Waheed, a former UN diplomat who has antagonized foreign allies since taking office after Nasheed, pledged a “smooth transfer of power” to the winner of the new election.
The court ruled on Monday that there was evidence of more than 5,000 irregularities on the electoral list, based on a police investigation, which could have influenced the order of the second and third-placed candidates.
Nasheed, the islands' first democratically elected president, won the first round overwhelmingly with 45.45 percent, ahead of Abdullah Yameen, who garnered 25.35 percent.
The third-placed candidate, businessman Gasim Ibrahim, filed the court case alleging fraud after he polled 24.07 percent.
Delegations from the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the European Union as well as local observer groups had declared the first round free and fair, saying any discrepancies would not have affected the result.
The court ordered that if no candidate secured an absolute majority in the fresh elections later this month, then a run-off election should be held before Nov. 4.
A new president must be in office by Nov. 11, a deadline set by the 2008 constitution that ended 30 years of one-party rule by autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.