Large voter turnout in Maldivian presidential run-off
Male: Maldivians on Saturday turned out in large numbers to vote in the second round of the controversy-ridden presidential election in which ousted leader Mohamed Nasheed faces a run-off against rival Abdulla Yameen, amid intense global pressure to end months of political turmoil.
Elections Commission chief Fuwad Thowfeek said the official results of the presidential run-off will be announced tomorrow. Preliminary results, however, will be announced before midnight, he said.
Voters queued up outside polling stations as voting began at 7.30 am across the Maldives for the second round of the much delayed election to choose a new president amidst a constitutional crisis.
Fuwad urged people to be patient despite the long queues and requested them to use the commission's complaints bureau for any grievances over polling.
Police said voting has been smooth so far barring a few minor incidents. Over 20 people have been arrested from various polling stations for revealing their ballot slips after casting their vote, a criminal offence under law.
Police will extend assistance to ensure a smooth transition no matter who wins the election, police commissioner Abdulla Riyaz said.
"I congratulate the candidate who wins the elections in advance. We will fully cooperate with the candidate who wins today," Riyaz said.
The Maldives has been in a state of political flux since the country's first democratically elected leader, Nasheed was forced to resign in February 2012.
The current polls mark the Maldives' third attempt to elect a new President since September.
The first election on September 7 was annulled by the Supreme Court, citing the rigging of voters' lists, while the Elections Commission's attempt to hold polls on October 19 was thwarted by police after a Supreme Court ruling.
In a crucial re-vote on November 9, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chief Nasheed bagged 46.4 per cent of the votes, a marginal increase from his previous tally of 45.45 per cent votes in the September 7 polls that were annulled by the Supreme Court.