Maldives held the re-run of its first-round presidential election vote on 9 November. The first vote, which was held in early September, was annulled in controversial circumstances. This was the second attempt to re-run the election, the first having been postponed the previous weekend on the day of the ballot itself.
In the first vote in September the top two candidates were Mohamed Nasheed, who was elected in 2008 but who was ousted in February 2012, and Abdulla Yameen, a relative of former president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was in office prior to Mohamed Nasheed. In the September vote Nasheed won 45.5% and Yammen won 25.4%, just ahead of the third-placed candidate, Qasim Ibrahim.
In the re-run this weekend, the Government is reporting the following result:
- Mohamed Nasheed – 46.9%
- Abdulla Yameen – 29.7%
- Qasim Ibrahim – 23.3%
So, as in September, there will be a second round between Nasheed and Yameen.
However, as we already know, one vote does not an election make. The aftermath of the re-run has been difficult.
When should the second round of the election be held? The term of President Waheed, who came to power in February 2012 and won only 5% of the vote in the September election, was due to expire on 11 November. Previously, he had declared that he would not stay in office a single day beyond this date. However, he did not step down on 11 November, even though his Vice President did. This is despite the fact that Parliament had voted an interim president.
There were reports that in order to head off the potential for legal chaos, the second round of the presidential election would be held on 11 November, just two days after the first ballot. Then, the Supreme Court ruled that the election would take place on 16 November. However, the ruling lacked the signature of any of the judges.
Overnight, President Waheed has announced that he will remain in office until 16 November and that the election will take place then. He is certainly under intense pressure from the international community to step down.
A week is a long time in politics and this coming week will definitely feel like a long time for politics in the Maldives.