The Maldives, which was supposed to hold a rerun of its presidential election over the weekend, has postponed it once again:
Maldives electoral officials have set new dates for a presidential poll amid a growing row over the delayed vote. The first round of the elections will now be held on 9 November, and a run-off – if required – on 16 November. The first round of voting, in September, was annulled by a court, and on Saturday police blocked an attempted re-run. Meanwhile President Mohamed Waheed told the BBC that the polls would be free and fair.
The Maldivian supreme court’s initial cancellation of the planned September 28 runoff was cause enough for alarm, but its decision to annul the original September 7 results and hold a new election on October 19 was even more discouraging.
Mohamed Nasheed, who won the country’s first democratic elections in 2008, was pressured to step down from office in early 2012 amid protests over the economy. He won over 45% of the vote in the initial September election, and was set to face Abdulla Yameen,the half-brother of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who led the Maldives with an authoritarian government between 1978 and 2008 and whose influence continues to threaten the country’s turn to democracy.
Needless to say, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Gayoom (pictured above) and his allies in the Maldivian courts are trying to prevent Nasheed from taking power again.
Nasheed, after the latest postponement, called on Waheed to resign — Waheed, his former vice president, assumed the presidency upon Nasheed’s resignation in February 2012.
Under the constitution, the Maldives must have a president on November 11, so it’s unclear what will happen if no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote.
At this point, it would not be surprising to see Maldivian authorities find a way to shut Nasheed out from the election.