Maldives reject foreign pressure over vote hold-up

काठमाण्डु टुडे २०७० असोज १६ गते १७:२५ मा प्रकाशित

COLOMBO, Oct. 02 :(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 cool off the current political situation,” Waheed said, adding that the court’s decision to suspend the September 28 run-off created a crisis.”What followed has put the country into chaos,” he said, according to a text of his speech released to news organisations in Sri Lanka. Waheed came last in the September 7 first round of voting, which was won by former president Mohamed Nasheed.

Saturday’s run-off election would have been between Nasheed and Abdulla Yameen, a half-brother of former autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who ruled with an iron first for three decades before the first free elections in 2008.

Nasheed sees the court decision as a conspiracy to prevent him taking power again, a year and a half after he was ousted following a police mutiny.Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party has been agitating for the early completion of the elections and staging almost daily protests in a country better known as a honeymoon destination.

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