COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The U.N. chief is urging the Maldives to ensure that its upcoming presidential election – the first national election since a contentious power transfer last year – is conducted in a credible and peaceful manner.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's office said he "encourages all presidential candidates to respect the election results no matter who wins and asks that all stakeholders overcome their past differences."
Ban has also urged "all Maldivians to work together in a constructive manner toward national harmony and democratic consolidation," according to a statement released Tuesday from the office of his spokesperson.
Maldives has been in a political turmoil since last year's February resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed, who was elected in 2008 in the nation's first democratic polls after 30 years of autocracy. Nasheed's resignation followed weeks of public protests against the arrest of a senior judge and came after he lost the support of the military and police.
The vice president at the time, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, replaced Nasheed, who then claimed that he hadn't resigned but had been forced out at gunpoint in a coup. A commission of inquiry dismissed that claim last year.
Police arrested Nasheed earlier this year and he has been charged with illegally ordering the arrest of the judge. Nasheed says the charges against him are politically motivated.
His arrest sparked violent protests in the capital, Male.
The election will be held Sept. 7.