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Articles from the Peace News log: Democracy
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For the Maldives, indefinite political chaos remains the only certainty should presidential polling scheduled for today - the fourth attempt over the last two months to vote a new head of state to office - not be allowed to proceed.
Today's poll is scheduled to take place just days before the expiration of a constitutional deadline requiring that a new president be appointed by November 11.
The Maldives' fledgling democracy, ushered in following the nation's first ever multi-party presidential election in 2008, faces being plunged further into legal and political limbo should authorities fail to ensure the 2013 presidential vote goes ahead on the weekend.
After a first round poll held on September 7 was annulled by the country’s under fire Supreme Court - despite being recognized as both fair and credible by local and international observers - the government of outgoing President Dr Mohamed Waheed has come under intense global scrutiny to ensure the Maldives five year-long democratic transition continues.
The now defunct September 7 poll saw sole opposition candidate former President Mohamed Nasheedd – with 45.45 percent of the popular vote – scheduled to face Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Yameen – who obtained 25.35 percent of ballots - in a run off originally due to be held on September 28.
At what point is it that an infant democracy can really say it is growing up?
For the Indian Ocean nation of the Maldives, which held its first multi-party democracy in 2008, uncertainty remains over whether the country is on the cusp of realising some form of political maturity, or is rather facing protracted political instability, potentially violent clashes and continued name calling between its elected officials.
While established democracies like to boast of political divides based on clear ideologies - usually evolved from decades and even hundreds of years of struggle - Maldives politics remains very much personality based as of five years into its democratic transition.
Of these personalities, arguably the most divisive, yet influential, politician at present in the country is former President Mohamed Nasheed.
Nasheed, who resigned from office on the back of a mutiny by sections of the police and military on February 7, 2012, is hailed locally by his supporters as the country's only means of reforming the tested methods of cronyism and autocratic rule, while at the same time derided by opponents as an “anti-islamic”, dictatorial leader who flouted the country's 2008 constitution,