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Maldives high court delays presidential election

The Supreme Court of the Maldives [official website] on Monday indefinitely delayed the second round of presidential elections, which were scheduled to occur later this week. The injunction, signed by four of the seven-judge bench, calls for the election commission to delay the runoff election [Haveeru report] until the court rules on the challenge filed by the Jumhooree Party (JP) [party website, in Dhivehi]. The JP is seeking to annul the first round of elections held earlier this month for alleged discrepancies. This year's election is the second democratic presidential election in the country's history. Mohamed Nasheed [JURIST news archive], the country's first democratically-elected president, resigned in 2012 after weeks of protests.

The judiciary in the Maldives have faced recent criticism. In February the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers found that lawyers and judges in the Maldives are not adequately independent [JURIST report] from outside influence and called for a separation of powers between the parliament and court system. Earlier in February a Maldives court issued a second arrest warrant [JURIST report] for former president Nasheed on charges of the illegal detention of a judge. The charges against Nasheed stemmed from his unilateral order to arrest [JURIST report] Chief Justice Abdulla Mohamed on corruption charges last January, when Nasheed was still president. In September of last year Amnesty International revealed violent human rights violations [JURIST report] committed in the Maldives against opposition groups and called for an immediate independent investigation into the actions of security forces. In July of last year a court in the Maldives refused to hear a case [JURIST report] about the legality of the arrest of the chief justice, saying it did not have jurisdiction.

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