Political chaos as Maldives Supreme Court suspends run-off vote

MALÉ, November 10, 2013 (AFP) – Presidential elections in the Maldives were thrown into disarray on Sunday after the Supreme Court suspended a run-off vote, denying former president Mohamed Nasheed the chance to return to power 21 months after he was ousted. Despite growing international concerns over the Indian Ocean atoll nation’s failure to elect a new president, it is the third time in two months that authorities have stepped in to prevent polls taking place, leaving the nation in political limbo.

Nasheed on Saturday garnered 46.93 percent of the popular vote but fell short of the 50 percent needed to win outright in the country best known as a honeymoon destination, with a run-off scheduled for the following day.

The 46-year-old also came out on top on September 7 in elections that were subsequently annulled by the Supreme Court.

And police action prevented a second vote on October 19 following another court order that said procedures had not been followed, adding to suspicions among foreign governments that the authorities were determined to prevent Nasheed returning to power at any price.

“All relevant state authorities are informed that today’s election cannot take place,” the Supreme Court said in a pre-dawn decision that came jus