In the latest turn of events leading to the Maldives’ fiasco of a presidential election, the Supreme Court has trampled on democracy by postponing the Saturday 19 October vote. In previous weeks, the supposedly impartial body had already scrapped the second round of elections (just hours before it was to take place) and overturned the results from the primary ballots cast on 7 September. The official excuse for this string of assertive delays is an investigation into electoral fraud. But the lack of evidence produced so far suggests that the cause lies closer political rivalry and corruption in this fragile democracy.
Disturbingly, the Supreme Court has repeatedly disdained providing the Maldivian people with a transparent account of its actions or grounds. Instead, it has called on the police to enforce its decisions and physically prevented the independent Maldivian Election Committee from doing its work. EU representative Catherine Ashton expressed dismay at the court’s injunctions in unusually sharp words and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague threatened that any further delays would be treated as a violation of democracy and “undermine the stability and international reputation of the Maldives.”
Find out about the full implications of this intervention in the electoral process.