Voting began in Maldives today morning for the final round of Presidential run-off election on a brisk note. Long queues of voters can be seen on all polling booths of Male and other islands.
Election Commission has set up 475 polling stations for 2 lakh 39 thousand eligible voters. Polling will end this evening and counting will start immediately. Provisional results are expected before midnight today.
Former President Mohamed Nasheed, who polled 47 percent of votes in the first round, is facing Abdulla Yameen, the half-brother of former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Nasheed is widely expected to trump his rival from Progressive Party and to come back in power again almost two years after he was ousted in controversial circumstances.
This year’s election has faced a series of obstructions from the Jumhooree Party and the Supreme Court and this is the sixth attempt in the last three months by the Election Commission to complete the process.
The elections are finally being held after intense international pressure and under supervision of domestic and international observers from the Commonwealth, the UN and the European Union. Commonwealth has also suspended Maldives for not holding elections before the end of the constitutional tenure of Mohamed Waheed. Meanwhile, Waheed is said to have stepped down on Thursday and has left the country for an undisclosed location.