The bitter battle over the future of the Maldives has intensified after the country’s former leader accused the current president of trying to indefinitely postpone elections and hang on to power at any cost. Two days after police prevented a presidential poll from going ahead, Mohamed Nasheed said President Mohamed Waheed should step down and allow an election to be held under the supervision of parliament. On Monday night, the office of Mr Waheed said a new vote had been scheduled for November 9. But earlier Mr Nasheed, a former political prisoner, said he doubted the authorities would allow a fair election to take place. “I don’t think there is going to be an election any time soon,” Mr Nasheed told The Independent, speaking from Male. “They have had the election and they have had the result, and we won. They came to power in a coup and they will not leave.”
The archipelago island nation has been rocked by a series of crises since Mr Nasheed was forced from office in February 2012 in what he and his supporters say was a police-backed coup. Under international pressure, his successor, Mr Waheed, agreed to hold new elections. The first round of those polls was held on September 7, with Mr Nasheed emerging with the highest number of votes and appearing well-placed for a run-off, due to have been held on September 28.
When the country’s court halted that run-off amid claims the original poll had not been fair, despite observers saying they believed it was legitimate, a fresh poll was fixed for Saturday. But on Saturday police prevented the poll from going ahead, claiming it was in breach of a court ruling.
Observers said that beneath the twists and turns lies a more fundamental battle over the future of the Maldives. Mr Nasheed was elected in 2008 in the country’s first independent election, defeating Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the former dictator who had ruled for 30 years.