Chances of the Maldivian presidential elections taking place on Saturday appeared bleak on Friday, though none involved — the Elections Commission, the government or political parties — admitted there would be no vote on Saturday.
The international community, led by India, has stepped up pressure on the Maldives to hold the annulled first round of presidential polls. But two political parties — the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) of former President Maumoon Gayoom and the Jumhooree Party run by millionaire resort-owner Qasim Ibrahim — have dug in saying they still had to verify the voters list.
Representatives of the European Union and the United States on Friday repeated the sentiment echoed on Thursday by the Indian Foreign Secretary. Pulling its punches, the U.S. said it was “concerned that the re-organised first round of the Maldivian presidential election, set for October 19, may now be postponed”.
Maldives President Mohamed Waheed had instructed all government institutions to abide by the Supreme Court order on conducting the elections and ensure a smooth electoral process. But Mr. Waheed carries little political clout. In the annulled first-round polls, held on September 7, Dr. Waheed managed a mere five per cent of the votes, compared to former President Mohamed Nasheed’s 45 per cent.
Mr. Nasheed, who met the Elections Commissioner here, said he hoped the process would go forward and people would be allowed to vote on Saturday.
Speaking to The Hindu, a PPM spokesperson said the party had asked for a copy of the electoral roll. “This was delivered to us only this afternoon,” she said.
“There are about 10,000 pages to verify. When we verify, we will sign,” she added.
One of the stipulations of the Supreme Court while annulling the September 7 elections was that the electoral roll had to be verified and approved by all the candidates contesting the polls.
The PPM had found “several irregularities” in the rolls, one source said.