Exiled Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed on Friday renounced his plans to contest the country’s presidential elections citing legal obstacles. The former president said the Election Commission’s decision to reject his victory in a party primary poll was illegal and demanded that the authority be sanctioned.
The presidential election is scheduled to be conducted on September 23.
On Twitter, Nasheed said: “In light of the fact that the Election Commission has written to Maldivian Democratic Party saying that I cannot contest in the upcoming presidential elections, I have decided to relinquish my presidential ticket. I hope to do this at party’s third Congress.”
The island nation has been embroiled in political unrest since Mohamed Nasheed, its first democratically elected leader, was forced to quit amid a mutiny by police in 2012.
The Election Commission cited terrorism charges against Nasheed as a reason for his ineligibility. The government has also rejected a demand by a United Nations human rights monitor to let Nasheed contest. Nasheed is currently in exile in Sri Lanka and is the leader of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party.
Current President Yameen Abdul Gayoom had expected to contest the election unopposed but senior Maldivian Democratic Party member Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is tipped to be the new candidate, PTI reported. Most of the other Opposition candidates are either in exile or in jail.
Yameen had imposed a state of emergency in February after the island nation’s Supreme Court reversed criminal convictions against nine of his opponents. The police arrested former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who is Yameen’s half-brother then. Security forces had also arrested Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed from the Supreme Court complex.
On Thursday, India expressed concern over the political situation in Maldives and urged the Maldivian government to allow democratic institutions, including the judiciary, to function in a fair and transparent manner.