Washington: Expressing deep concern over Maldivian President Mohammed Waheed’s unprecedented decision to remain in office past the legal mandate of his presidency, the US has said this has endangered democracy in the country.

“The United States government is deeply concerned by President Waheed’s unprecedented decision to remain past the legal mandate of his presidency, which ended on November 10,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said yesterday.

“This action has endangered the Maldivian people’s right to elect a leader of their choice,” she said a day after the Maldivian President said he would not leave office on Sunday midnight, when his term was to end under the country’s constitution.

“The democratic process must be supported by quickly concluding a free, fair, transparent and inclusive runoff election that results in the prompt inauguration of the new president. In the lead up to the November 16 second round vote, it is important to avoid violence and for the police and military to show restraint and respect the human rights of all Maldivian citizens,” Psaki said.

As a result of the decision by Waheed, political turmoil in the Maldives has deepened, The New York Times said.

“Political turmoil deepened in the Maldives on Monday as the police clashed with protesters after a third attempt to hold a presidential election was thrown off course by a court order,” NYT reported.

The Maldivian Supreme Court has determined November 16 as the new date for run-off elections in the island nation.

It was scheduled to be held on Sunday as no candidate received the mandatory 50 per cent of the votes to win the election on Saturday.

Ousted president Mohamed Nasheed had won 47 per cent of the vote with a wide lead over his nearest rival Abdulla Yameen.

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