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Maldives: Early election hopes dashed

The Maldives President has called an election for July next year, spurning pleas for an early vote after February's coup.

A statement from the office of President Mohamed Waheed Hussain Manik said he was "fully committed to strengthening democratic processes in the Maldives" and claimed the vote was scheduled for "the earliest date permitted under the constitution".

His predecessor Mohamed Nasheed says he was forced to resign at gunpoint on 7 February. He calls the current regime a "dictatorship" and has led peaceful protests since he was ousted.