Maldives presidential revote in doubt: poll panel

Male: The presidential re-election in Maldives tomorrow could be scrapped at the last minute as two candidates are yet to endorse the voting register as mandated by the Supreme Court, the Elections Commission warned today.
 
Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Yameen and Jumhooree Party's Gasim Ibrahim have demanded fingerprint verification of the finalised voter roll, with police refusing to support the poll without the candidates' signatures.
 
After submitting letters with their demand to the Elections Commission at midnight, both the party's leaders have been unreachable, Minivan News reported.
 
The Elections Commission said a revote can be held as scheduled only if presidential candidates sign the voters roll by 7.30 am on voting day.
 
"Without their signatures, the Maldives Police Service is not willing to support us. They will not give protection to conduct the election and if we hold polls it will be invalidated by the Supreme Court," said Elections Commission chairman Fuwad Thowfeek.
 
"We are trying our best to have the election as per the verdict of the Supreme Court," said poll panel Vice Chairman Ahmed Fayaz. "But with all the hard work of the last 11 days, now the process has almost been halted." 
 
The Supreme Court had annulled results of the first round of polling on September 7 and ordered fresh polls after hearing a petition on alleged electoral fraud filed by third placed candidate Gasim Ibrahim.
 
The Elections Commission has been trying to obtain signatures and fingerprints of candidates or their representatives since 4 am today, its Secretary General Asim Abdul Sattar told reporters.
 
The Commission has called, texted and sent officials to individual's houses and to the homes of Jumhooree Party representatives Umar Naseer and Hassan Shah and PPM leader Ahmed Ilham, but has received no answer.
 
Sattar said only former President and Maldivian Democratic Party leader Mohamed Nasheed has approved the voter list.
 
Incumbent President Mohamed Waheed Hassan quit the re-election bid after getting just over five per cent of the popular vote and promised to ensure a smooth transition of power.
 
Yesterday, Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh rushed to the Maldives and asked all political parties to ensure free and credible polls to be followed by a smooth transfer of power and reconciliation.