Police in the Maldives have forced the postponement of the re-run of the presidential poll, declaring the vote illegal and blocking ballot papers from leaving the offices of the Elections Commission.
The election had been due to take place on Saturday, but "a new date for elections will be informed later", the independent Elections Commission said in a statement.
The Indian Ocean chain of islands has been in turmoil since February 2012 when former President Mohamed Nasheed, who won the Maldives\’ first free elections in 2008, was ousted in disputed circumstances his supporters called a coup.
Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek said police had surrounded the commission\’s secretariat.
"We cannot proceed with the election if police are obstructing it," Thowfeek told a news conference. He said the commission was disappointed and frustrated and that police had "overstepped their authority".
Thowfeek also doubted the election could be held before the end of the current presidential term on November 11.
The Supreme Court annulled the results of a September 7 presidential election in which Nasheed came first and ordered a re-vote, agreeing with losing candidate Qasim Ibrahim that the voters\’ register listed fictional names and dead people.
Police spokesman Abdulla Nawaz told the AFP news agency that they considered it was illegal to stage the election in violation of a Supreme Court order that required all candidates to approve electoral lists.
Only Nasheed has approved the list. Ibrahim and Yaamin Abdul Gayoom, a brother of the country\’s long-time autocratic leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, have not signed them. Source: Agencies