Supreme Court annuls Maldives presidential vote

0
263

October 8, 2013

MALE: The Supreme Court of the Maldives on Monday annulled the results of the first round of voting in the country's presidential election, agreeing with a losing candidate's claim that the election was flawed.

October 8, 2013

MALE: The Supreme Court of the Maldives on Monday annulled the results of the first round of voting in the country's presidential election, agreeing with a losing candidate's claim that the election was flawed.

The Maldives Supreme Court on Monday annulled the first round of voting in presidential elections won by former president Mohamed Nasheed and called fresh elections on October 20.

Four judges of a seven-member panel decided that some 5,600 votes cast in the September 7 first round were tainted, making it unclear which candidates qualified for a runoff. The court ordered revoting to be completed by November 3.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed led the vote with more than 45 percent but failed to get the needed 50 percent. Yaamin Abdul Gayoom — brother of the South Asian country's longtime autocratic leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom — finished second and was to face Nasheed in the second round scheduled for September 28.

However, businessman Qasim Ibrahim, who finished a close third, complained that he was denied a runoff slot because of a voter registry that included made-up names and the names of people who are deceased. The difference between the second and third-placed candidates was about 2,700 votes.

The court postponed the election as it heard the case, angering the supporters of front-runner Nasheed.

The decision to annul an election hailed as free and fair by the United Nations, European Union and countries like the United States and neighboring India threatens to exacerbate the political crisis in this island nation that became a democratic system only five years ago.

The country known best for its luxury tourist resorts and beautiful beaches held its first democratic election in 2008 after the 30-year rule of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Nasheed, who became president in that election resigned last year amid public protests and withering support from the military and police over his decision to arrest a senior judge.

A local inquiry commission dismissed his claims that he was ousted in a coup and forced to resign at gunpoint. However, the country has since been politically polarized.


Courtesy: AP