Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed will not contest the fresh presidential polls next week, saying he wants to be a neutral caretaker and ensure the election process continues with greater fairness.
"President Waheed had decided not to contest in the re-run of the Presidential Elections scheduled for the 19th of October," Waheed's Press Secretary Masood Imad told PTI.
Waheed had received just over five per cent of the votes in the September 7 elections which were controversially cancelled by the country's Supreme Court earlier this week.
The apex court had ordered authorities to hold a fresh round of presidential polls before October 20.
The court ruling came after a case was filed by the Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Qasim Ibrahim, alleging serious irregularities.
Waheed "took this decision in the greater interest of the country at a time when the integrity of the independent Elections Commission and the election process are being challenged," a statement from the President's office said.
"The President will continue until his term expires on 11 November, when a new president is expected to be sworn in."
Waheed's withdrawal leaves front runner Mohammed Nasheed who had secured more than 45 per cent of popular vote, second placed candidate Abdulla Yameen and Ibrahim.
"Disputes arising out of the first round have caused serious disagreements among the political parties, the Elections Commission and the Supreme Court," the statement said.
"During the remaining time, the President will do his best to maintain peace and stability, to ensure the election process continues with greater fairness, and to steer the country through these difficult times," it added.
The political scene in Maldives has been in a state of flux since February 2012 when Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected President, was forced to resign in duress. He was succeeded by Vice-President Waheed.
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