MALE, Maldives -- MALE, Maldives (AP) — The leading candidate in the Maldives' troubled presidential election demanded Sunday that the president resign and allow the parliamentary speaker to take over the government and oversee a fresh poll.
Speaking to reporters a day after police stopped officials from holding a scheduled revote of last month's election, Mohamed Nasheed accused President Mohamed Waheed Hassan of working with the country's defense minister and police chief to obstruct the vote.
The move by the police to stop Saturday's revote came as the latest blow to this Indian Ocean island nation, which has seen much upheaval in its first five years as a democracy. Failing to elect a president by Nov. 11, when Hassan's term ends, could bring about a constitutional crisis in the country.
The Supreme Court earlier this month annulled the results of the Sept. 7 election, agreeing with a losing candidate that the voters' list had made-up names and names of dead people. Nasheed led that election with more than 45 percent of the vote, but failed to secure a majority for an outright win.
Nasheed said Sunday that he had lost all hope that an election will ever be held during Hassan's tenure, accusing Hassan, Defense Minister Mohamed Nasim and Police Chief Abdulla Riyaz of wanting to stay in power without having a new vote.
"It is very evident that they have been obstructing the election and it is also very evident the game they are trying to play," Nasheed told reporters, adding that Hassan, Nasim and Riyaz want to take Maldives into a "constitutional void" and stay in power for a long time.
"We believe that the only prudent way forward and a possible solution is for Dr. Waheed (Hassan) to resign and the speaker of Parliament to take over government until Nov. 11, for the election to be held under his tenure and not under the unelected ... rule of Dr. Waheed," Nasheed said.
Presidential spokesman Masood Imad denied Nasheed's allegation, and said Hassan would not step down.
"I don't think anybody in this country doesn't want an election. The president more than anybody else wants to have an election," Imad said.
Hassan said Saturday that he did not intend to stay in power even if no president was elected by the Nov. 11 constitutional deadline, even though the Supreme Court had ruled that it would allow such a provision. He opted out of the election after losing badly in the annulled first round, getting just 5 percent of the vote.
Hassan stepped in Saturday to mediate in the crisis, proposing to the Elections Commission that a new vote be held Oct. 26. The commission, however, has not announced a date yet.
Nasheed's supporters started civil disobedience protests Saturday, occupying main roads in the capital, Male, and on at least one other island to protest the cancellation of the revote.
Following the election last month, Nasheed was set for a runoff with the second-place finisher, a brother of the country's longtime autocratic ruler, when the Supreme Court ordered the revote. The court also set forth 16 guidelines for the Elections Commission to follow during the new poll, including having the voters' register approved by all candidates. Nasheed's two rivals have refused to approve the register, citing flaws in the list.
The Maldives held its first multiparty election in 2008, with Nasheed defeating the country's 30-year autocratic ruler, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Nasheed resigned last year after weeks of public protests against his order to arrest a senior judge he perceived as corrupt and partial. Hassan, who was Nasheed's deputy, took over presidency. Nasheed has since accused Hassan of helping to orchestrate a coup.
A local commission has ruled out Nasheed's claim of a coup, but the country, best known as a luxurious vacation destination, has since been politically polarized.
Earlier on HuffPost:
In this photo provided by the President's Office, Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed announces his resignation in a nationally televised address Tuesday afternoon, in Male, Maldives, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. The first democratically elected president of the Maldives resigned after the police and army clashed in the streets of the island nation amid protests over his controversial arrest of a top judge. (AP Photo/President's Office, HO)
Maldivian police control the crowds in the capital island Male on February 8, 2012 as they moved to push back thousands of anti-government activists loyal to former president Mohamed Nasheed who stepped down a day earlier. (Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)
Maldivian policemen stand guard during an anti-government protest in the capital island Male on February 8, 2012. (Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)
A Maldivian policeman looks through two shields as he stands guard during an anti-government protest in the capital island Male on February 8, 2012. (Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)
An anti-government protester throws back a teargas cannister to police in the capital island Male on February 8, 2012.(S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)
Maldivian police push back a protester wounded in clashes between police and thousands of anti-government protesters in the capital island Male on February 8, 2012. (Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)
A Maldives soldier fires a rubber bullet towards police during a clash between them in Male, Maldives, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Sinan Hussain)
A Maldives police officer, in blue, charges soldiers during a clash in Male, Maldives, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Sinan Hussain)
Former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed waves as he emerges from his first public appearance addressing thousands of loyalists on February 8, 2012 in the capital Male a day after stepping down. (Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)
Maldives new President Mohammed Waheed Hassan gestures during a press conference in Male, Maldives, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. The Maldives new president is calling for the formation of a national unity government to help the country recover from the political crisis that led to the resignation of his predecessor, Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed Tuesday after police joined protesters against his rule. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
Supporters of Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned Tuesday from his post as Maldivian President, clash with policemen during a protest in Male, Maldives, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
Maldivian police officers lead away supporters of Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned from his post as Maldivian President, during a protest in Male, Maldives, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Sinan Hussain)
Supporters of Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned from his post as Maldivian President, take cover from tear gas canisters during a protest in Male, Maldives, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena )
A supporter of Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned Tuesday from his post as Maldivian President, gestures towards policemen and army soldiers during a protest in Male, Maldives, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. Police fired tear gas at a rally of about 1,000 people demanding Mohamed Nasheed be reinstated. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena )
Maldivian soldiers stand guard with their anti-riot gear beside them in Male, Maldives, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012. A Maldives court issued an arrest warrant for former President Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned but later insisted he had been ousted by coup plotters in a political dispute that sparked rioting. (AP Photo/ Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Maldives Acting Chief of National Defense Force Brig. Gen, Ahmed Shyam, left, looks on as Defense Minister Mohammed Nazim speaks during a media briefing in Male, Maldives , Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
Former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed greets supporters outside his residence in Male, Maldives, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
In this Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, photo flames rise from the burning Hulhudhoo Court after it was set afire by supporters of former President Mohamed Nasheed,in Addu City, Maldives. (AP Photo)
In this Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, photo flames rise from burning vehicles at a police station after it was set afire by supporters of former President Mohamed Nasheed, in Addu City, Maldives. Maldives police commissioner Abdullah Riyaz said 18 police stations on several islands, along with an undetermined number of court houses and police vehicles, were destroyed in the violence. A Maldives court issued an arrest warrant for Nasheed, one day after his supporters rampaged in the capital and his claim of being ousted by a coup left unclear the stability of the fledging Indian Ocean democracy. (AP Photo)