Male, Sep 30: A group of port workers went on strike in the Maldives Sunday, urging their government to hold presidential elections after a run-off was cancelled over the weekend.
The Maldives Ports Workers Union (MPWU) opted to resort to strike following the Maldives Supreme Court’s decision, with the support of the government, to postpone the second round of the presidential election, Xinhua reported.
“We are taking our constitutional right to give a message to the government,” said Ibrahim Khaleel, president of the Maldives Ports Workers Union.
The ports in the Maldives are crucial to keep its economy ticking. In addition to port workers the islands valuable tourism industry could also go on the rocks after more than 5,000 resort workers threatened to strike if presidential elections were not held soon.
Embattled Maldives Elections Commission late Friday canceled the second round of voting for the presidential elections, triggering political unrest on the Indian Ocean group of islands.
The Commission made the announcement after a last-minute meeting to decide whether they could go ahead with the elections scheduled for Saturday.
The Maldives Supreme Court Monday indefinitely postponed the second round run-off sparking protests across the capital city of Male.
The date for the runoff will be announced later, the Commission stated in a release.
The Maldives capital was tense Friday evening as thousands of people supportive of the ousted former president Mohamad Nasheed gathered before the country’s Supreme Court demanding that postponed presidential elections be held as scheduled Saturday.
Nasheed, the first democratically elected president in the Indian group of islands, obtained 45.45 percent of the vote to win the first round of voting. However, he failed to get a crucial 50 percent mandate that would have negated the need for a second round.
Meanwhile the Commonwealth, the US, the European Union, the UN, India and Australia have called for the swift resumption of polls and have warned of an outbreak of violence if delays continue.