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Maldives: High Court Delays Presidential Vote

(Sept. 27, 2013) On September 23, 2013, the Supreme Court of the Maldives issued an injunction to stop the second round of voting in the country’s presidential elections. The election has been suspended indefinitely by the Court’s action, with was signed by four of the seven judges of the bench. (Elizabeth LaForgia, Maldives High Court Delays Presidential Election, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST (Sept. 24, 2013).) The run-off election had been scheduled for September 28. (Maldives Top Court Postpones Election Runoff, THE TIMES OF INDIA (Sept. 24, 2013).)

The reason for the injunction, according to the Court statement, is the need to decide on the challenge filed by the Jumhooree Party, whose candidate, Qasim Ibrahim, came in a close third in the first round of voting, held on September 7. The Party asserted that irregularities had occurred in that election, including the inclusion of nonexistent and deceased individuals on the voting rolls. The United States, the United Nations, and the Commonwealth had all considered the first election to be fairly conducted. (Id.)

Following the decision, members of the Maldivian Democratic Party, whose candidate, Mohamed Nasheed, won the most votes at 45% of the ballots cast in the first round, demonstrated in the streets, demanding that the second round of voting go ahead on schedule. (Id.) The European Union has also called for the election to proceed. According to EU representative Catherine Ashton, an EU representative, the “international community recognized the outcome of the first round as inclusive and credible, and considered that it reflected the will of the Maldivian people.” (EU Asks Maldivian Authorities Not to Delay Presidential Runoff Election After Court Decision, FOX NEWS (Sept. 25, 2013).)