The Supreme Court of Maldives has delayed its ruling on the potential annulment of the presidential election for the second time today.
Originally scheduled for 2:30pm today, the ruling was moved to 5:00pm, before court officials announced the decision to move the ruling back to 8:00pm.
“The Supreme Court can say whatever they want to say. But the constitution must be upheld,” Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed told a crowd of supporters gathered near the courthouse.
The case filed by the Jumhooree Party, alleges systemic fraud in the first round of the presidential election, despite the overwhelmingly positive assessments of all observer missions present.
The concluding arguments in the case were heard on September 25, two days after the court had issued an injunction calling upon all state institutions to halt election preparations until the case had been completed.
Numerous international actors – including the United Nations Security Council – have expressed their alarm at the decision to delay the second round, and the subsequent rising of tensions in the country.
MDP Imthiyaz Fahmy called for an investigation of the police’s role in the arson attack.
“[Police Commissioner] Abdulla Riyaz publicly announced previously that police will not provide protection to Raajje TV. Look how it has been absolutely burned down today,” said Fahmy.
Former President – and first-placed candidate in the initial poll – Mohamed Nasheed addressed a crowd of around 300 just before midday.
“The Supreme Court may say anything at two thirty today. Do listen to their verdict, it will make no sense at all.”
“The letters in the constitution cannot dissolve and protect itself, it cannot come out to war to protect itself. It won’t come to life unless we get strength from it and come out to protect it.”
“We are not here to ascertain presidency for Galolhu Kenereege Mohamed Nasheed. We are here to get people’s rights. Not for the MDP, but for all citizens,” he added.
The area – close to the Supreme Court – has been the focal point of MDP protests for 10 consecutive nights following the Election Commission’s decision to abandon preparations for the September 28 run-off, in the face of government and judicial intransigence.
“We are demonstrating here and won’t stop until we hear a verdict,” Nasheed’s running-mate Dr Mustafa Lutfi told the crowd.
Police have reported “no tensions and no arrests” during today’s demonstration.