Crisis-hit Maldives to vote again with democracy in doubt

Susantha Ratnayake, Chairman, BOI formally presents the Certificate of Registration to Indra Silva, Chairman, Indra Hotels and Resorts Kandy (Pvt) Ltd

COLOMBO, November 7, 2013 (AFP) – The Maldives faces a final chance to avoid a constitutional crisis and secure its five-year democracy this weekend when it makes a third attempt to hold a long-delayed presidential election. He held a meeting with all three candidates on Wednesday, with a statement saying it was “a very crucial period” for the country, which would face “many challenges” if a new president were not elected by Monday. The United States and Britain have warned that failure to go ahead with the re-scheduled ballot on Saturday will damage the Indian Ocean atoll nation and its fragile tourism-dependent economy.

Western and Indian diplomats have come to view the annulment of a first round of elections that took place on September 7 and police action to prevent a second vote on October 19 as deliberate moves to block opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed.

“Remnants of the former regime will be quite keen to keep Nasheed out of power,” a Colombo-based diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity. “There are some who fear retribution in the event of a change of government.”

The Maldives’ 2008 constitution, which ended 30 years of one-party rule by former autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, stipulates that a new pre