Political turmoil deepened in the Maldives on Monday as the police clashed with protesters after a third attempt to hold a presidential election was thrown off course by a court order. The sitting president, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, said late Sunday that he would not leave office at midnight, when his term was to end under the country’s Constitution. He said that since no one had been elected to succeed him, he would stay on until Nov. 16, the Supreme Court’s proposed date for a runoff between the two leading candidates. “The Supreme Court has decided the government will continue, instead of going into a constitutional void,” Mr. Hassan said, according to Reuters. Hundreds of opposition supporters had gathered on the street before his announcement, calling on him to step down, and members of the security forces in riot gear used pepper spray and batons to disperse the crowd, witnesses said.
Voters in the Maldives, a chain of islands in the Indian Ocean southwest of India, went to the polls on Saturday hoping to end a deadlock between two political factions: backers of Mohamed Nasheed, who was elected president in 2008, and those of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the country for the previous 30 years.
Mr. Nasheed won 47 percent of the vote, giving him a wide lead over his closest rival, Mr. Gayoom’s brother, but not enough votes to avoid a runoff. That vote was originally scheduled for Sunday, but it was delayed at the last minute by the Supreme Court, which is widely seen as loyal to Mr. Gayoom.
Full Article: Protests Over Delay of Election in Maldives – NYTimes.com.