In forcing the cancellation of the presidential polls a second time, the Maldives government has proved to be at best an inept bystander and at worst a willing collaborator, reads today’s editorial in Indian newspaper The Hindu.
The Waheed administration has not only prevented the Maldivian people from exercising their franchise, but also stands in direct contempt of the original Supreme Court order that required elections to be held before October 20.
Strangely, even the Court did not deem it fit to take cognisance of the blatant flouting of its order by the executive, the very arm tasked with administering the polls. It is impossible to miss the pattern: there were no major complaints of voter list tampering till the results came out on the night of September 7; the first complainant who approached the Court was a trailing candidate Qasim Ibrahim, who is a member of the powerful Judicial Services Commission.
Based on questionable evidence, the Supreme Court annulled the polls and ordered fresh elections. It also set clear guidelines, one of which related to approval of electoral rolls by the candidates. This effectively gave candidates the right to veto the polls.
President Mohamed Waheed — sworn in under controversial circumstances after Mohamed Nasheed resigned on February 7, 2012 — cannot abdicate responsibility for the Maldivian Police Service forcibly blocking Election Commission personnel from moving out poll-related material on the morning of October 19, when the elections were scheduled.