Senior UN official to visit Maldives before presidential election

Senior UN official to visit Maldives before presidential election
# 05 November 2013 21:50 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. UN Assistant Secretary- General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco will visit Maldives starting Wednesday to help promote the resumption of its democratic process, days before its crucial presidential election, a UN spokesperson said Tuesday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Fernandez-Taranco will "stress the importance of holding the elections as planned and ensuring a constitutional path forward, encouraging Maldivian political leaders and government officials to fulfill their responsibilities towards the democratic process," said Farhan Haq, acting deputy spokesperson for UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon.

His visit will end Thursday.

The island nation is scheduled to hold the first round of the vote for the presidential election Saturday. If a second round run- off is necessary it will be held on Nov.16, according to Maldives' Elections Commission. The country may face a constitutional void if a new president does not take over on Nov. 11.

Maldives has been rocked by political instability since its president was ousted from power in February 2012. The Supreme Court annulled the first round of presidential elections held on Sept.7, citing irregularities in the process, despite national and international observers saying the elections were free and fair.

Another attempt to hold elections on Oct.19 was also halted after the police blocked the distribution of ballot boxes, insisting the Supreme Court guidelines had not been followed.

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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED