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Associated Press
Colombo, April 19, 2012
The Maldives president announced Wednesday that he will call for an early presidential election amid opposition demands following a contentious power transfer earlier this year.

President Mohammed Waheed Hassan said the election will be held in July 2013, the earliest permitted by the constitution, according to a statement from his office. The vote was scheduled for late 2013.

Hassan took over in February when his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed resigned after weeks of public protests and eroding support from the police and military. Nasheed claimed he was forced to resign at gunpoint and challenged Hassan to order early elections.

Nasheed, a former pro-democracy political prisoner, became the first democratically elected president of the archipelago in 2008 following 30 years of autocratic rule.