The presidential election in The Maldives will be held on September 7, its Election Commission (EC) has announced.
Since there are funding issues, a source in the EC said September 7 was a “tentative date”. If needed, a run-off would be held later in the month.
This will be the first election after President Mohamed Nasheed was replaced by his Vice-President, Mohamed Waheed, on February 7 last year. Mr. Nasheed, now on a tour of India, claimed he was ousted in a coup while Mr. Waheed said the transition was necessitated by the President’s resignation.
Ever since the transition, Mr. Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has been calling for early presidential elections. Despite international backing for the call, the new leadership in Maldives resisted saying the Constitution did not provide for holding early elections.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nasheed alleged on Monday that a High Court ruling legitimising the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court, a local court — which will enquire if Mr. Nasheed abused his powers as President in ordering the arrest of a judge — was to target him. “Today’s [February 4] judgement in Maldives High Court clearly means that I can’t get justice in this coup regime,” he tweeted.
Soon after the ruling, Mr. Nasheed was served summons to attend the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court on February 10. He will return from India on February 9.
Mr. Nasheed’s spokesperson, Mariya Didi, said the High Court ruled the Hulhumale’ Court as legal after holding only two successive hearings. Claiming the decision was a “travesty of justice”, Ms. Didi said this demonstrated how Mr. Nasheed’s is a “politically motivated trial”.
MDP is deeply worried that Mr. Nasheed will be found guilty after a short trial. In a statement, Mr. Nasheed wanted the court to stop proceedings for the time being since there was no time ahead of the polls to complete the hearings. “Having the state arrest the MDP candidate and then hold elections would be ‘akin to play-acting’”, news website Minivan News, quoted him as saying.