UN chief Ban Ki-moon calls for quick elections in the Maldives

Ban Ki-moonBan Ki-moon expressed 'deep concern' at the delay of the presidential revote in the Maldives. (Reuters)

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday expressed "deep concern" at the delay of the presidential revote in the Maldives and asked the country's political leaders and institutions to ensure that the polls take place "as soon as possible".

"The Secretary-General calls on all parties to maintain calm and urges political leaders and state institutions to live up to their responsibilities, respect the democratic process and participate in a credible, peaceful and inclusive re-run election as soon as possible, enabling a new president to be inaugurated on November 11 in accordance with the Constitution," Ban's spokesperson said in a statement.

Ban said the aspirations and the will of the Maldivian people was clear when 88 per cent of eligible voters participated in the September 7 election.

The Supreme Court, however, annulled the results of the polls in which ousted resident Mohamed Nasheed emerged as the front-runner with 45 per cent of the votes. The country was supposed to hold a fresh vote on October 19.

The Maldivian police, however, halted the polls at the last minute, claiming that it did not meet a 16-point guideline set by the Supreme Court.

"The Secretary-General strongly believes that the legitimate will of the people should not be denied," the statement said.

The election had been seen as an important step in the country's democratic transition.

Maldives was plunged into political turmoil when democratically elected President Nasheed was removed in February last year. He was succeeded by his former deputy Mohammed Waheed.

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