Senior UN official to visit Maldives before poll

United Nations, Nov 6 (IANS) UN Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco will visit the Maldives starting Wednesday to help promote the resumption of its democratic process, days before its crucial presidential election.

Oscar Fernandez-Taranco will "stress the importance of holding the elections as planned and ensuring a constitutional path forward, encouraging Maldivian political leaders and government officials to fulfill their responsibilities towards the democratic process," Xinhua quoted Farhan Haq, acting deputy spokesperson for UN chief Ban Ki-moon, as saying Tuesday.

Oscar Fernandez-Taranco's visit will end Thursday.

The island nation is scheduled to hold the first round of presidential election Saturday. If a second round run-off is necessary it will be held Nov 16, according to the Maldives' Elections Commission.

The country may face a constitutional void if a new president does not take over Nov 11.

The Maldives has been rocked by political instability since its president was ousted from power in February 2012.

The country's Supreme Court annulled the first round of presidential election held Sep 7, citing irregularities in the process, despite national and international observers saying the election was free and fair.

Another attempt to hold the election Oct 19 was also halted after the police blocked the distribution of ballot boxes, insisting the Supreme Court guidelines had not been followed.

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