Maldives' Election Commission today halted preparations for the presidential run-off scheduled for tomorrow after the Supreme Court ordered security forces to stop any attempts to go ahead with the polls against its directives.
Hundreds of supporters of Mohammed Nasheed, the front-runner in the Maldives' presidential election, held protests against the court's decision to postpone this weekend's runoff.
Earlier, Election Commission of Maldives chief Fuwad Taufeeq's statement saying that the panel would go ahead with the run-off despite the Supreme Court order to postpone it had sparked confusion.
In an interview to 'Minivan News', Taufeeq said, "We don't believe any organisation or institution can overshadow the constitution. So we are working as per the constitution. I am trying to fulfil the national duty of the election commission. I don't want to leave room for those who break laws and the constitution."
After the election commission chief's statement, the Supreme Court directed security forces to implement its orders and thwart any attempts to go ahead with the polls, local daily Haveeru reported.
The latest orders of the Supreme Court prompted the Election Commission to halt its plans to go ahead with the second round of presidential elections.
"The commission was only working towards holding runoff expecting the verdict on the case to come at any time. However, after the latest order of the highest court, all preparations for the runoff have now been halted," Vice president of the commission Ahmed Fayaz Hassan was quoted as saying by the daily.
Maldivian Democratic Party leader Nasheed, who led the first round with over 45 per cent votes, has to face in the second round the Progressive Party of Maldives candidate Abdullah Yameen who was the runner up in the first phase held on September 7.
According to the Maldivian Constitution, it is mandatory that a run-off election takes place within 21 days of a first round if no candidate gains more than 50 per cent of the vote. The run-off takes place between top two vote garnering candidates.
The Supreme Court on Monday had postponed the second round indefinitely on the plea of Jumhooree Party (JP) which stood third and missed the chance of a run-off with Nasheed in the second round by a whisker.
India and other international agencies including the UN which were part of over 100 international observers have appealed to all parties to respect the will of people expressed through results.