The presidential run-off was due to take place on Sunday but the Supreme Court delayed it till next Saturday in a pre-dawn ruling.
    
"All relevant state authorities are informed that election cannot take place," the Supreme Court said just hours before the run-off was due to begin.
    
In Saturday's crucial re-vote, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chief Mohammed Nasheed emerged a winner but failed to clinch 50 percent of the votes to avoid a run-off.
    
The 46-year-old former president bagged 46.4 percent of the votes, a marginal increase from his previous tally of 45.45 percent votes in the September 7 polls that were annulled by the Supreme Court in which Nasheed had emerged the front-runner.
    
Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) leader Abdullah Yameen made a significant gain of nearly five per cent over the 25.35 percent of votes he secured in the annulled polls and managed 30.3 percent of the votes on Saturday.

Jumhooree Party (JP) leader and resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim bagged 23.4 percent of the votes as second runner up. The order issued by the Supreme Court stated that by holding the run-off the very next day to the first round could undermine the constitutional rights of many people.
    

Maldives Election Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek

The court ordered all state institutions to hold the second round on November 16, saying it finds on Saturday "the best date to hold the run-off".

Ibrahim had asked the court for more time to tell his supporters which way to vote in the run-off between Nasheed and Yameen, half-brother of former autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
    
The court order came following Chief Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thaufeek's announcement that he was going ahead with the run-off agreed beforehand by the candidates, but with a five-hour delay.
    
Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDT) had warned that the country could be heading for a constitutional crisis without a leader, but the Supreme Court Saturday ruled that outgoing President can remain as a caretaker.

The highest court's ruling suspended the run-off election hours before it was due to start, halting a presidential vote for the third time in two months.

Maldivian president says he will stay on until run-off

Maldivian President Mohammed Waheed defied international calls for an interim government until a new President is elected, saying he will stay in office until his successor is sworn in on November 16.
    
Waheed made the announcement during an address to the nation following the Supreme Court ruling.
    
President and his cabinet will remain in office without remuneration until November 16 in accordance with Supreme Court ruling delaying the election.
    
The President assured the people that he will resign from office on November 16 and will not accept any further delays in the election, presidential spokesman Masood Imad said.
    
In his address, president Waheed said he has always executed his responsibilities since he assumed office last year, to ensure national stability and harmony. He insisted that he would remain as president until the runoff on Saturday.
    
Waheed's decision came after the Commonwealth and the United Nations had called on an interim arrangement until a new president is elected.

Election under Waheed will not be legitimate: Nasheed

Former Maldivian president Mohammed Nasheed said it would be "unlawful" to take part in an election held under President Mohamed Waheed if he chooses to stay beyond his term which ends tonight.
    
Speaking to the media for the first time after the presidential election, Nasheed said the constitution dictates that the presidency will expire at midnight tonight and that an election held with Waheed as president will not be legitimate.
    
"Dr Waheed, my vice president, will not continue as president. I believe that he stayed in power to maintain a government we formed together. Constitution clearly states the government will end. Partaking in an election with Waheed as president will be taking part in an unlawful election," Nasheed was quoted as saying by a news daily.

Former Maldivian president and presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed speaks to the press in Male on November 10

Nasheed said the Speaker of the Parliament must take over the presidential powers after the constitutional deadline ends and Maldives must conduct its next election under the control of the Speaker. He said that after November 11, the permanent secretaries in government ministry will have too seek directives from the Speaker of the Parliament.

Regarding the election, Nasheed said that it is important to the Maldivian people have the certainty that an election will be conducted on the next election date. "We must next go to the polls with a guarantee that the election will be held, and that the State will have an executive through the election," Nasheed said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

UN chief concerned over suspension of run-off

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed grave concern over the Maldivian Supreme Court's decision and called on the state institutions to conclude the process without any more delay.
    
Ban is closely monitoring the situation and stands ready to provide support of the United Nations for democratic progress, a statement issued by his spokesperson said here.
    
The UN Chief congratulated the people of the Maldives on the "peaceful and transparent" balloting on November 9 overcoming "many obstacles and delays".
    
"He urgently calls on all political actors and state institutions to show restraint, to respect the legitimate will of the people expressed in the election on November 9, and to conclude the presidential election process without further delay in the best interest of the Maldivian people," the statement said.
    
Ban noted that the participation in the election was very high, with voter turnout exceeding 80 per cent. He commended the Elections Commission for administering the process professionally and credibly. He said the will of the citizens must be respected.

JPN/Agencies

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