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Second round of Maldivian voting delayed

Nov. 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Maldivians waited a long time to vote in weekend presidential elections and shouldn't have to endure delays with a second round of voting, the U.N. chief said.

Maldivians voted Saturday. Mohamed Nasheed received the most votes but fell shy of the 50 percent needed to ensure an outright victory. Rival Abdulla Yameen then asked for more time to campaign and the Supreme Court voted Sunday to delay a run-off for about a week, the BBC reported.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman said the Maldivian people displayed "extraordinary patience" with the political system. Ban called on all political actors "to conclude the presidential election process without further delay in the best interest of the Maldivian people," his spokesman said Sunday.

The Supreme Court delay was the third since September. The court said the "constitutional rights of many people" may be violated without a delay, the BBC reported last weekend.

Yameen is a half-brother to Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, ousted by Nasheed in 2008. Nasheed himself was ousted in an apparent coup in February 2012 and the current president, Mohamed Waheed Hassan vowed to stay on until the vote was settled.

"Even at a slow pace, we have been able to continue moving forward," Hassan said in a statement Sunday. "Even at times of uncertainty, not a single step was taken backwards."

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