Protesters took to the streets in the Maldives on Monday to protest against the incumbent president’s decision to stay in office for another week, until the country had picked his successor, news reports said.
Mohamed Waheed Hassan told reporters late on Sunday that he would carry on with business as usual, as ruled by the Supreme Court, for the week from last Saturday’s first round of elections until the run-off scheduled on Sunday.
A crowd of at least 600 people gathered in protest in the capital Male and threw stones at police, the Minivan News local news outlet reported.
Opposition parliamentarians and the international community also expressed concern.
The government was no longer legitimately in power, as the president’s mandate expired at the weekend, Parliament Speaker Abdulla Shahid said on Twitter.
The Commonwealth issued a statement expressing its envoy’s “dismay at the decision by President Waheed to remain in office against the letter and spirit of the constitution,” and calling for calm.
The second round was originally due to be held on Sunday, a day after Saturday’s first round, and in time for the end of the president’s mandate.
But the Supreme Court ruled Saturday that holding the two polls on consecutive days was impractical, and set the second round for Saturday November 16, while extending Mr. Waheed’s remit for a week.
The next round will pit former president Mohamed Nasheed, who won 47 per cent of the votes Saturday, against Abdulla Yameen, the half-brother of the autocratic former ruler Abdul Gayoom, who won 30 per cent.
In September, Mr. Waheed contested the first round in the first of three attempted presidential elections, but received only 5 per cent of the vote. That poll was annulled, and the president subsequently withdrew his candidacy.