EU warns against autocratic drift in the Maldives, says considering appropriate measures

The European Union has warned that the Maldives may drift back to autocratic rule, saying it will consider "appropriate measures" if the country can't elect a resident in a rescheduled runoff vote Saturday.

In a declaration dated Wednesday, High Representative Catherine Ashton say any further delays or attempts to influence the outcome will be considered by the E.U. as actions made to prevent Maldivians from exercising their democratic rights.

The statement comes after President Mohamed Waheed Hassan decided to extend his legal term by six days, purportedly to avoid a constitutional void after the country failed three times to elect a president.

Maldives' first democratically elected president and the brother of a former longtime autocratic ruler qualified for the runoff after the first vote on Nov. 9.