Maldives asks for support after election annulled

MALÉ, October 8, 2013 (AFP) – The Maldives government on Tuesday urged all parties to support fresh elections after the Supreme Court annulled last month’s results, even though international observers had said those polls were free and fair. Hours before the ruling, six masked men set fire to a private television station that supports Nasheed’s campaign. It was back on air by the afternoon despite suffering extensive damage.

“This criminal act is a direct blow to freedom of information and we deplore the attitude of the police, who failed to do what was necessary to prevent the attack,” media rights group Reporters Without Borders said in a statement.

It said the head of the channel, who was beaten with iron bars in February and left for dead, had requested protection a few hours before the arson attack. The government of the honeymoon islands also called for foreign support for the new presidential polls expected to be held by October 20 amid deepening concern about political turmoil in the country.

The court late Monday ordered a fresh ballot, annulling the first round of voting on September 7 which was won by former leader Mohamed Nasheed who claims he was ousted in a coup last year.

The court cited allegations of elec