Maldives President doubts credibility of upcoming presidential polls

Thursday, 17 October 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Xinhua: Maldives President Waheed has told his nation that he will remain an independent observer of the upcoming presidential elections but expressed doubt over their credibility, local media reported here Wednesday. Speaking via local media on the occasion of the Muslim holiday Eid-al-Adha, President Waheed, who earlier this week withdrew from running for a second term as president, insisted that he would not back any of the three candidates still in the fray. This includes former President Mohammad Nasheed who bagged 45. 45% of the vote in the first round that was later annulled. The other two contenders are tycoon Gasim Ibrahim and autocratic former President Abdul Gayoom’s half-brother MP Abdulla Yamin. Both candidates polled nearly equally with only some 3,000 votes giving Yamin a slight edge. During the now defunct presidential poll held on 7 September, President Waheed obtained 5.13% of the popular vote, finishing last of the four candidates contesting. The outgoing President said that it remained the duty of all Maldivian heads of state “to bring happiness and joy in to the hearts of the people, and to save them from the uneasiness and conflict that has engulfed the country,” according to a summary of his speech provided by the President’s Office obtained by Minivan News. Dr. Waheed, who was elected to office as vice president in the country’s first democratic multi-party election in 2008 as the running mate of former President Mohamed Nasheed, took office himself on 7 February 2012 on the back of a mutiny by sections of the Police and military. Waheed became the president in a controversial transfer of power, alleged by Nasheed to have been a coup d’etat orchestrated by his then vice president and political opponents. The election on 7 September, which saw an 88% voter turnout, was unanimously considered credible and democratic by more than 1, 000 local and international election observers, before the country’s Supreme Court annulled the vote over allegations of voter irregularities.