UN, EU reject invite to observe Maldives elections

The United Nations (UN) along with the European Union (EU) had refused to accept an invitation to observe the upcoming presidential elections, Maldives' electoral watchdog revealed Sunday.

Speaking during a press conference on Sunday, Maldives' elections chief Ahmed Shareef said the commission had invited the UN to observe the September elections which it rejected saying that the body does not observe elections.

According to Shareef, a similar invitation was extended to the EU but the European body refused saying that it had no interest in observing the crunch elections.

"So we believe that both the UN and the EU would have no representation in observing this year's elections," Shareef said.

However, Shareef added that around 30 foreign observers would be involved while over 6,000 monitors had applied for the elections.

Several countries including the United States, India and the European Union (EU) have continued to cast serious doubts over the September elections.

Some of the concerns include the question marks surrounding the country's electoral watchdog, state institutions and the government's refusal to release jailed political leaders.

The EU meanwhile has adopted a framework for targeted sanctions including asset freeze and travel ban on key government officials over the worsening human rights and political situation in the archipelago.

Foreign Affairs Council during its sit-down in Brussels adopted the framework for targeted restrictive measures against persons and entities responsible for undermining the rule of law or obstructing an inclusive political solution in the Maldives as well as persons and entities responsible for serious human rights violations.

The crunch elections is set to be a two horse race between incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom who is seeking re-election and opposition alliance candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih who has been backed by Yameen's main political rivals including the now jailed former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed.

Unlike in previous elections, the presidential race would be decided in the first round and is widely seen more as a 'referendum' with a straight choice between the opposition and the government more than an election.