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India has sought a quick second round of presidential elections in the Maldives even as the outgoing President Mohammed Waheed defied international pressure and declared that he will stay on until his successor is sworn in.
As the political crisis in the Maldives deepened, the Indian High Commission said it was disappointed that the run-off for the presidential elections was not held on Sunday as scheduled and hoped that a newly elected President is sworn in at the earliest, a statement released in Male said.
"It is also a matter concern that as the government ends its term today, no interim arrangement acceptable to all stakeholders to run the country is in place," Sunday's statement said.
"It is important that all sides respect the electoral verdict and democratic aspirations of the people of Maldives. It is our hope and expectation that the second round of Presidential elections is held as early as possible and that a newly elected President is sworn in the earliest," the news portal Sun quoted the statement as saying.
Waheed made the announcement during an address to the nation last night following a Supreme Court ruling preventing a last ditch attempt to elect a new a president before Monday's constitution deadline.
In his address, President Waheed said he has always carried out his responsibilities to ensure national stability and harmony. He insisted that he would remain as president until the runoff on November 16.
Meanwhile, former president Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had warned that the country could be heading for a constitutional crisis without a leader.
"I want President Waheed to step down and the speaker of Parliament to become the head of state and conduct the run-off elections," he said.