Former President and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Mohamed Nasheed led the field of three candidates in the Maldivian presidential election held on Saturday, about two months after the earlier first round, held on September 7, was annulled by the Supreme Court.
Though the Maldives Elections Commission is yet to formally announce the results, a compilation of results from the various atolls showed that Mr. Nasheed again fell short of the ‘50 per cent plus one vote’ requirement to win an election by a teasing margin — like he did last time. He managed just about 47 per cent of the votes polled.
His nearest rival, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s half-brother from the Progressive Party of Maldives, Abdulla Yameen, was placed a distant second, managing nearly 30 per cent of the votes. Like in the annulled round, millionaire resort owner and head of the Jumhooree Party, Qasim Ibrahim, was placed third. The Maldivian Constitution mandates that a run off round should be held between the candidates placed first and second to elect a President. It also stipulates that a new President should be sworn in by November 11.
To adhere to the Constitution, the spirited Elections Commission, working from early August for the elections, has announced that the run-off round between Mr. Nasheed and Mr. Yameen will be held on Sunday.
There are already doubts if the second round will be held as scheduled on Sunday. News reports from Maldives indicate that an office-bearer of Mr. Qasim’s party has approached the Supreme Court, asking for the second round to be delayed. Even in the earlier elections, it was Mr. Qasim, a member of the powerful Judicial Services Commission, who approached the Court and got the results annulled.
The third attempt at presidential elections comes just two days before expiry of the presidential term on November 11.