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UN Concerned About Maldives Election Delays

FILE - Maldives Election Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek speaks during a news conference in Male, October 18, 2013.
The United Nations is calling on the Maldives to hold fresh elections "as soon as possible" after police stopped officials from staging polls on Saturday.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply concerned by the delay" and urged the country's political leaders and institutions to respect the democratic process.

Former president Mohamed Nasheed won 45 percent of a September vote -- not enough to win the presidency outright. Observers said the election was fair but the nation's supreme court scrapped the results after the third-place candidate alleged irregularities.

On Sunday, Nasheed accused President Waheed Hassan of obstructing the new election and demanded he resign to allow the vote to take place under a caretaker government. A presidential spokesman denied the allegations and said Hassan would not step down.

Further delays risk sending the country into a constitutional crisis; the next president is due to be inaugurated on November 11.

Nasheed was the first democratically elected Maldivian president, but was forced to resign at gunpoint in 2012.