In it first official reaction to the Maldives Supreme Court annulling the first round results of the country’s September 7 Presidential poll, India on Thursday said it was important to put the “stalled electoral process” back on track and also signalled its deep disapproval of the moves to disqualify former President Mohamed Nasheed as a candidate.
Stating that New Delhi has always believed in strengthening the democratic institutions in Male, the statement went on to add that India “(believes) it is important that the stalled electoral process is put back on track”.
“India strongly urges that the fresh election date stipulated in the verdict is adhered to so that a new President is elected in accordance with the wishes and democratic aspirations of the people of Maldives,” said the statement released by the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) late on Thursday.
“We encourage all the parties concerned in Maldives to work for a free, fair, inclusive and credible elections in a peaceful environment followed by a smooth transition on November 11 as stipulated by the Constitution of Maldives,” the MEA release said. Besides, the communique deplored the recent incidents of “political violence” and appealed “to all sides to maintain peace and calm and to refrain from extra-constitutional measures”.
Earlier on Thursday, a PPM member filed a case against Nasheed to bar him from standing in the elections on the ground that he was irreligious. However, President Waheed later condemned the move and by evening the PPM had officially distanced itself from the move.
Now, though, the PPM -- whose Presidential candidate Yameen is the brother of former dicator Maumoon Gayoom -- seemed more focused on changing the members of the Election Commission, with concerted calls for their resignation following the SC verdict.
The UK and the EU had in separate statements reposed confidence in the Maldivian EC saying that it would ensure free and fair elections.
The US State Department said, “We continue to urge a peaceful political process that is inclusive, transparent and fair and for the next round to meet the same high standards that the previous election observers witnessed on September 7.”