Call for caretaker president to resign as police block Maldives election


Kurumba island in the Maldives basks in the sun.



Former Maldives president and current presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed is calling for the country’s caretaker president to step down a day after police prevented a presidential election from taking place on Saturday.

A previous vote in the Indian Ocean archipelego in September was annulled due to fraud, although international observers judged the election to be free and fair.

The current president, Mohamed Waheed, was Nasheed's deputy when Nasheed was forced to resign following a mutiny by police in February last year. Nasheed later accused Waheed of being involved in a coup to topple him and take power.

"We believe that the only prudent way forward and the solution is for Waheed to resign and the Speaker of Parliament to take over the government until elections are over," Nasheed said.

He accused the incumbent of letting the police block Saturday's vote to try to push the country into a constitutional crisis before seizing power.

"It has become very evident that they (Waheed and police) have obstructed these elections, and very evident that the game they are trying to play," Nasheed said. "It is to take this country into a constitutional void and then capture power."

Police forced the Elections Commission to postpone the election just hours before polls were due to open because, they said, some candidates had not endorsed the list of voters as required by a Supreme Court ruling early on Saturday.

Police Chief Superintendent Abdulla Nawaz said he had acted to quell "any unrest that may occur in the country as a result of letting the election proceed.”

The international community has condemned the delay.

Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek told a news conference Saturday that the commission was asking the government to hold new polls on Nov. 2 or Nov 9.

Thowfeek said the police had “overstepped their authority.” He added, “they kind of think they can be our bosses and we are an institution below them, they can dictate to us and control us.”

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.