Maldives to finally hold election after two failed attempts as archipelago island nation rocked by series of crises

 

After two failed attempts, the Maldives likely will hold its presidential election on Saturday as the three candidates have agreed on a voters' register, the president said today.

The Supreme Court annulled results of a Sept. 7 election because it said fake names and dead people were on the voters' list, and police stopped last month's attempted vote because all the candidates had not approved the voters' register as the Supreme Court mandated. 

President Mohamed Waheed Hassan told reporters that he had explained to the candidates the importance of having an election as scheduled and the candidates have agreed to endorse the list. 

The Maldives must have an elected president by Nov. 11 when the current presidential term ends, to avoid a possible constitutional crisis. Its leaders also must agree as to who will be in charge of the country if no clear winner emerges Saturday, until a runoff between the leading two candidates on Nov. 16. 

The Indian Ocean archipelago has been under much international pressure to hold a credible election with both United States and Britain warning that a failure would damage the country's international reputation and the economy. Maldives' economy is heavily reliant on tourism which contributed 27 percent of the gross demostic product in 2012. 

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay last week accused the Maldives Supreme Court of interfering with the presidential election and subverting the democratic process. 

Maldives has seen much upheaval in the five years it has been a democracy. 

The president elected in the first multiparty election in 2008 resigned midway through his term following public protests and sliding support from the military and police over his order to arrest a senior judge. His resignation sparked violent protests and long-term political uncertainty.

AP

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