Maldives reject foreign pressure over vote hold-up

COLOMBO, October 2, 2013 (AFP) – Outgoing Maldivian president Mohamed Waheed vowed on Wednesday to resist international pressure to hold swift elections after the Supreme Court suspended a presidential run-off due last weekend. Waheed, in an address to the nation of 350,000 Sunni Muslims, said the court’s decision had plunged the country into “chaos”, but said he would not give in to foreign pressure.

“I strongly condemn calls (for) foreign military interventions in the Maldives and to interfere in domestic affairs of the country,” Waheed declared, without saying who had called for foreign involvement.

“We are not intimidated by such calls,” he said, adding: “We are prepared to save the country from such foreign parties that may attempt to interfere in the powers of the state.”

The United States has led international calls for the presidential run-off to be held without delay, although there has been no suggestion from any country of military intervention.

However, the Supreme Court is yet to give a ruling on a case filed by a third-placed candidate who alleged irregularities in the election, which foreign observers ruled was free and fair.

“A swift ruling on the case by the Supreme Court would help coo