Maldives vote to go ahead despite court case

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

MALÉ, October 19, 2013 (AFP) – Presidential elections in the Maldives will go ahead on Saturday despite an 11th-hour court challenge by two candidates aimed at delaying the poll, the elections chief announced. Outgoing president Mohamed Waheed, who replaced Nasheed but is not running in the fresh polls, has promised a smooth transition of power.

He was humiliated in the September 7 vote, winning just over five percent of ballots. Voting had been in doubt up until hours before polls were due to open, sparking international concern about political stability in the fledgling democracy 20 months after a violent change in leadership.

“We will hold the election in accordance with the guidelines issued by the supreme court,” head of the archipelago’s elections commission, Fuwad Thowfeek, told reporters in the capital Male early on Saturday.

The supreme court last week annulled the first round of voting on September 7, citing irregularities — even though international observers said the polls were free and fair — and ordered a re-run.

Voting was due to start at 7:30 am (0230 GMT).

“The start of the voting may be delayed in some places, but we will allow more time for people to cast their bal