Bangkok Post

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.

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