Male, Nov 7 (IANS) A senior UN official began a two-day mission to the Maldives Wednesday along with Indian diplomats to push for free and fair presidential elections.
The visit by Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco followed a call by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the Maldives to hold a re-run as soon as possible so that a new president can be sworn in before the constitutional deadline of Nov 11, Xinhua reported.
The Supreme Court of Maldives had annulled the first round of presidential elections held Sep 7 citing irregularities and ordered fresh polls under a comprehensive guideline.
The Elections Commission had announced the re-vote Oct 19 but it was blocked at the last minute by police.
The commission has now slated Saturday for the third attempt at electing a new president.
"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 toward the democratic process," UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said.
India dispatched a team of senior diplomats to Male Tuesday, hoping to put pressure on the Maldivian government to hold the next round of presidential election as scheduled and ensure that it's free and fair.
The latest visit, diplomatic sources say, is to make sure that free and fair elections are held as scheduled. The team will be led by a joint secretary in the ministry of external affairs.
If Maldives does not elect a president by Nov 11 the speaker of parliament will take over and oversee the transition of power.