News / Asia

Maldives Holds Run-Off Election After Delays, Protests

Former President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed displays his candidate number with his fingers during a campaign rally ahead of the presidential runoff in Male, Nov. 15, 2013.
Former President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed displays his candidate number with his fingers during a campaign rally ahead of the presidential runoff in Male, Nov. 15, 2013.
Reuters
The Maldives holds a run-off presidential election on Saturday that the Indian Ocean archipelago's 240,000 voters hope will end two years of political turmoil.
 
Three previous attempts to elect a new leader have been annulled or postponed in as many months, as election favorite Mohamed Nasheed and the parliament have clashed with a political old guard backed by the Supreme Court.
 
Nasheed, who became the Maldives' first democratically elected president in 2008, left office last year in what he says was a coup. He won 47 percent of first round votes a week ago, short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a run-off.
 
He is up against Abdulla Yameen, a half-brother of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the holiday island paradise for 30 years and is considered a dictator by opponents and rights groups.
 
The term of the incumbent president, Mohamed Waheed, expired on November 11, but when the Supreme Court delayed the second round of voting following demands by Nasheed's rivals, Waheed extended it to fill a constitutional void.
 
Waheed left for Singapore on Friday, saying: “I do not think there is much I can do from here, things that I cannot do over the phone.”
 
The political upheavals and sporadic violent protests in the capital Male have hit tourism, a vital source of foreign currency, notably resulting in the Maldives being unable to import all the fuel it needs.
 
Islam central to campaigns
 
Political analysts say the crisis may not pass even if Saturday's vote goes smoothly, after a bitter election campaign centring on the future role of religion in a largely Muslim state where Islamist ideology is on the rise.
 
Addressing a final rally on Thursday, Nasheed said his opponents were using Islam as a weapon, after they accused him and his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of being too secular and close to Western countries.
 
“I assure you, there will not be any room for another religion in this country as long as we draw breath,” he said.
 
An MDP government would “build a completely new nationhood based on Islam, human rights, social security and economic opportunity”, he added.
 
Yameen, who has the backing of resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim, who was eliminated in the first round of voting, attacked the United States and others for criticizing the Maldives' election process.
 
“When you go to vote, think for yourselves,” he said. “Do you want Islam in the Maldives or do you want to allow space for other religions in the Maldives? Vote on whether to allow foreigners to interfere in the Maldives or not.”
 
The European Union said it was ready to consider “appropriate measures” if Saturday's poll did not bring the process to a successful conclusion, but did not specify what they might be.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid