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Maldivian presidential polls may be further delayed

R.K. Radhakrishnan
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The prospects of holding early presidential polls, as suggested by Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed, have receded further with the Elections Commission saying it will need at least 21 days to finalise preparations.

Besides, there is no indication of how long two of the candidates, Yameen Abdulla and Qasim Ibrahim, will take to approve the electoral roll. It was the reluctance of these two to approve the roll that led to a series of events, ending in the October 19 elections being postponed for a second time.

Mr. Waheed had suggested October 26 as a possible date, but the Elections Commission said it could hold a poll earliest by November 2. As mandated by the Constitution, a new President has to be sworn in by November 11.

The former President, Mohamed Nasheed, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate, who is keen that the elections be held and a President is chosen by that date, vowed to keep up the struggle. He has been campaigning since the controversial transfer of power on February 7, 2012. “We refuse to give up hope. We will continue with our struggle until we have a government elected by the people of Maldives,” he said.  

Mr. Nasheed wanted the international community to take steps to make sure Maldives held an election. According to him, free and fair elections can only be held after Mr. Waheed, Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, and police commissioner Abdulla Riyaz, step down. “It is very evident that they have been obstructing these elections,” he alleged.

 On Saturday, Mr. Nasheed, addressing an impromptu gathering, said he was not backing off: “This is 2013. Maldivian citizens are not apathetic and we will not let them get away with this. I repeat, I repeat, I will not get tired. I will not go home. When I fall, I will get up even faster, God willing, we will change the Maldives.”


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