Maldives Elections Commissioner meets President over polls

Colombo, Oct 24 (IANS) The Maldives' Elections Commissioner called on President Mohammad Waheed to ensure that security forces do not interrupt the presidential election scheduled for the third time, media reported Thursday.

Elections Commissioner Fuad Thoufeek had appealed for President Waheed's assistance after he accused the police of stopping two previous elections scheduled for Sep 28 and Oct 19, Xinhua reported citing Thoufeek's statement.

"The Elections Commission has requested assurances from President Mohamed Waheed Hassan that this time elections should not be disrupted by security services and facilitate the smooth conduct of the elections," the statement said.

The first round of the presidential election took place Sep 7 but the results were later annulled by the Supreme Court after two candidates alleged mass scale rigging.

Former President Mohammad Nasheed, who was ousted from power in February 2012, won the first round of the elections with 45.45 percent of the votes. President Waheed, however, got just 5 percent of the votes and withdrew from the presidential race. He later decided to oversee a peaceful transition of power.

But the election was hampered by deepening political infighting and police interference prompting Nasheed to demand Waheed's resignation.

According to the Maldives Constitution, a new president has to be sworn in by Nov 11.

If a president is not elected by Nov 11, then parliament will take over with the speaker temporarily overseeing power transition unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise.

The elections are now scheduled for Nov 9, and if there is no clear winner, a second round is slated for Nov 16.

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