The Supreme Court in the Maldives has suspended a presidential election run-off, after protests from a candidate. On Saturday, ex-President Mohamed Nasheed polled nearly 47%, just short of the 50% needed for outright victory. The second round was to have taken place on Sunday, but the runner-up Abdulla Yameen sought a delay, saying he needed time to campaign afresh. Mr Nasheed has been seeking to regain power after he was forced to resign in 2012, sparking a political crisis. This is the third time the presidential elections have been derailed. A vote on 7 September was annulled by the Supreme Court after one candidate, Gasim Ibrahim, alleged irregularities, despite observer groups deeming the vote free and fair. The court also introduced new guidelines for elections.
Police then halted a planned re-run on 19 October saying the guidelines had not been met, after both Mr Gasim and Mr Yameen failed to approve the voter register.
This time, the run-off was planned for only one day after the first round, because the constitution stipulates there must be a new president by Monday.
Despite that legal deadline, the Supreme Court sitting late at night has now ruled that the run-off “cannot take place” and ought to be delayed by six days.