Maldives Election, Former President Mohamed Nasheed won the most votes on Saturday as citizens of the Maldives, the tiny Indian Ocean island nation, went to the polls in a third attempt to elect a president after two previous elections were scuttled, making the country’s five-year-old democratic system look increasingly unstable.
With nearly all of the vote counted, Mr. Nasheed had won around 45 percent of the vote, according to Maldives elections officials, giving him a lead of almost 15 points over his closest rival but not breaking the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a second round. In second place with 30 percent of the vote, news agencies reported, was Yaamin Abdul Gayoom, the brother of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the country’s longtime autocratic leader.
The authorities had said a runoff between the top two vote-getting candidates would be held Sunday, but Mr. Gayoom, the candidate, told reporters on Saturday that he wanted the second round of voting postponed for at least 48 hours to sort out what he called discrepancies in voters’ lists, The Associated Press reported.
Mr. Nasheed’s party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, reported that the vote had proceeded “smoothly, without major incident,” and urged that “the will of the people” be respected. The Foreign Ministry also released a statement saying the vote had proceeded peacefully.
Reporters in the capital, Male, said turnout on Saturday was low. The term of the sitting president, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, ends Monday, setting the stage for a constitutional crisis if a new leader has not been elected.
Mr. Nasheed’s election in 2008 ended 30 years of autocratic rule. The last two years have been marked by waves of turmoil, as important factions in the government remain loyal to the forces that preceded him.