Fury as court suspends vote
MALE: The former leader of the Maldives, who was the front-runner in elections due this weekend, called yesterday for nationwide protests after the archipelago’s Supreme Court suspended the vote.
Mohamed Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) asked supporters to join peaceful demonstrations, threatening more unrest in the troubled honeymoon destination that has faced more than a year-and-a-half of uncertainty.
Mr Nasheed won the first round of voting on Sept 7 with 45.45% and faced a run-off contest on Saturday against Abdullah Yameen, the half-brother of the islands’ former autocratic ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
‘‘I have been fortunate enough to get the support of 45% of the people in the first round of the presidential elections,’’ 46-year-old Mr Nasheed said.
‘‘The dictatorship cannot digest this and have used their cronies through their kangaroo courts to delay their ulti- mate defeat,’’ he added.
His opponent in the second round, Mr Yameen, has said there was ‘‘nothing unconstitutional’’ in the Supreme Court’s order.
However, MDP spokesman Hamed Abdul Ghafoor said the court decision had led to ‘‘immense instability and has the potential to trigger violence’’.
The Supreme Court ordered the second round of voting to be delayed while it examined a complaint about alleged electoral fraud.
The polls were seen as a test for the Maldives’ young democracy a year-anda-half after the violent ousting of Mr Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected president.
Mr Nasheed resigned in February last year after a mutiny by police which he described as a coup orchestrated by Mr Gayoom, who had ruled the islands for three decades.
Mr Gayoom denied any involvement in the matter.