Minutes before voting was to start this morning, the Elections Commission (EC) issued a statement saying police had blocked its officials from conducting the revote.
    
Police spokesman Abdulla Nawaz said polling was stopped because the EC did not comply with a court order to have the voters' rolls endorsed by all the presidential candidates. He said police acted after consulting President Mohammed Waheed, the security council and the Home Ministry.
    
EC head Fuwad Thowfeek said police entered his offices and stopped officials from distributing poll materials. It was "a dark day for democracy", he said in a televised speech.
    
The EC accused police of undermining its independence. "Whether or not polls is held or not is now at the hands of the police," Thowfeek said.
    
The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of former President Mohamed Nasheed, which led in the first round of balloting on September 7, called for international intervention to end the impasse.
    
"There is no other way but international intervention. We are waiting for the international community to realise to get into action, otherwise we are another Burma," said MDP spokesman Abdul Gafur.
    
"President Nasheed was saved by the skin of his teeth as he ran into Indian High Commission...it is a cat and mouse game," he said. Gafur said the entire machinery opposing the democratic process - including police, army, President Mohammed Waheed and Supreme Court - had been validated by the world community after the "coup" of February 2012.
    
The Maldives has been in turmoil since Nasheed was removed from the post of President last year. Nasheed pushed for today's revote but two candidates, Gasim Ibrahim and Abdulla Yameen, who trailed him in the first round of balloting did not want the polling to go ahead.

 (Agencies)

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