Maldives assures US of free and fair election

Male, June 3 (IANS) The Maldives has assured the US that the presidential election scheduled to be held in September will be free and fair.

The assurance was given when the US ambassador accredited to the Maldives, Michele J. Sison paid a courtesy call on President Mohamed Waheed, the President's Office said.

At the meeting Sunday, discussions were held on the current political and economic state of the Maldives and preparations for the upcoming presidential elections, reported Xinhua.

"The president assured that the government would do everything possible to make the election free and fair. He also stressed the importance of having international elections observers in the country," the President's Office said.

Ambassador Sison said the US would give its support and cooperation for the economic and political stability of the Maldives.

The US envoy also met leader of the opposition Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) and former president Mohamed Nasheed separately.

Nasheed had accused the government of President Waheed of removing him from power in February last year in a coup.

He has since been pushing for the presidential election and has already begun campaigning by visiting the atolls of the Maldives.

Last week, the MDP accused the government of attempting to disrupt its campaign for the elections.

Nasheed had cut short his election campaign at Raa atoll and returned to the capital Male Wednesday to attend a court hearing, only to find that the hearing had been cancelled.

Nasheed's spokesperson Mariya Did said that the disruption to Nasheed's campaign trip to Raa atoll was an unnecessary, politically motivated challenge.


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