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Maldives draws fire for election delays

Oct. 31, 2013 at 12:31 PM

LONDON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Legal challenges to the presidential election are getting in the way of democratic processes in the Maldivian political system, the British government said.

The Maldivian Supreme Court this month negated the results of a September election that leaned in favor of the opposition. Police in Maldives stopped the rescheduled contest because of issues related to voter lists.

Hugo Swire, British foreign minister for Asian affairs, said he was concerned by the repeated delays in the political system in Maldives.

"These legal challenges increasingly appear to be aimed at preventing the people of the Maldives from having their say at the ballot box," he said in a statement Thursday.

Maldives gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1965.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Wednesday she was "alarmed" by the level of judicial interference in the political process in Maldives.

She said the Supreme Court imposed "onerous" guidelines for the election, which resulted in the Oct. 19 police raids on election offices.

Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed was ousted in an apparent coup in February 2012. The interim administration's tenure ends next month.

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