11:25 pm - Thursday July 18, 2019

Voting begins in Maldives presidential polls

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Voting begins in Maldives presidential polls
Voting begins in Maldives presidential polls

Voting began in the Maldives’ latest attempt to elect a president Saturday, as a constitutional deadline approached.

“Voting has commenced across the country and is in progress without major incidents,” a spokesman for the Elections Commissioners office said.

The first round of presidential elections was held in the island nation on September 7, and was due to be followed by a runoff when none of the candidates won at least 50 per cent.

But a court order annulled the first-round results and a fresh election was set for October 19. Due to a dispute between rival political camps over voting lists, that election was cancelled.

Former president and leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party Mohamed Nasheed, Progressive Party of Maldives candidate Abdulla Yamin, and Jumhoory Party candidate Gasim Ibrahim are contesting the election.

Nasheed is the frontrunner, having secured 45 per cent of the vote in the September poll.

Voting times have been advanced by half an hour to help counting conclude early and proceed quickly to a second round runoff, if required, on Sunday, officials said.

A new president needs to be in place by November 11, when, according to the constitution, the term of the incumbent president ends.

Voting ends at 3:30 pm (1100 GMT) and results are expected later in the night.

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