Maldives president doubts credibility of upcoming election

Posted By: IANS
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Maldives president doubts credibility of upcoming election
Colombo, Oct 16: Maldives President Mohamed Waheed says he will remain an independent observer of the upcoming presidential election but expressed doubts over its credibility, Xinhua reported Wednesday citing local media.

Speaking to the media on Eid-al Adha, Waheed, who earlier this week withdrew from running for a second term, insisted that he would not back any of the three candidates still in the fray.

They include former president Mohammad Nasheed, who bagged 45.45 percent of the vote in the first round that was later annulled.

The other two contenders are tycoon Gasim Ibrahim and autocratic former president Abdul Gayoom's half-brother and MP, Abdulla Yamin. Both candidates polled nearly equally with only some 3,000 votes giving Yamin a slight edge.

During the now defunct presidential poll held Sep 7, President Waheed obtained 5.13 percent of the popular vote, finishing last among the four candidates.

The outgoing president said that it remained the duty of all Maldivian heads of state "to bring happiness and joy in to the hearts of the people, and to save them from the uneasiness and conflict that has engulfed the country", according to a summary of his speech provided by the President's Office obtained by Minivan News.

Waheed, who was elected vice president in the country's first democratic multi-party election in 2008 as Nasheed's running mate, took office himself Feb 7, 2012, on the back of a mutiny by sections of the police and military.

Waheed became the president in a controversial transfer of power, described by Nasheed as a coup d'etat orchestrated by his deputy and other political opponents.

Addressing the nation, Waheed said the best care had been taken of the "treasure" Maldivian citizens had trusted him with five years ago.

However, questioning the integrity of the next election Oct 19, he claimed that division and vengeance were now widespread in society, adding that it had now become very difficult to differentiate between fact and fabrication.

The Sep 7 election, which saw an 88 percent voter turnout, was unanimously considered credible and democratic by more than 1,000 local and international observers, before the country's Supreme Court annulled the vote over allegations of irregularities.

According to the President's Office, unspecified individuals were now creating conflict and hatred in the society for political gains, though no further clarification was given on the comments.

"However much you deny it, the truth would still be the truth. However much you try to defend it, a lie would still be a lie," stated the outgoing president, whose term is to end Nov 11.

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