Maldives heads backs to the polls amid controversy

MALÉ, October 17, 2013 (AFP) – The Maldives returns to the polls on Saturday for another presidential election after a top court annulled last month’s results, deepening concern about political stability in the young democracy. Election officials were working overtime to ready the luxury tourist destination for Saturday, after the Supreme Court last week scrapped the first round of voting, citing irregularities, even though international observers said those polls were free and fair.

Former president Mohamed Nasheed, a pro-democracy campaigner who claims he was ousted in a coup last year, won the September 7 election with 45.45 percent of the vote, and remains the front runner for the rerun.

Britain urged the Maldives to hold fair and smooth elections, which are intended to install a legitimate government after a violent change of power in February 2012 when Nasheed stepped down following a mutiny by police.

“We are urging all the presidential candidates to act in line with the interest of the people of the Maldives and to respect the democratic process,” British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, John Rankin, said.

“We have made it clear that there must be no intimidation of the independent Ele

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