Ballot papers for second round of Maldives election being printed

    By IANS,

    Male : Elections officials in the Maldives have begun printing ballot papers for the second round run-off of the presidential election here as the Indian Ocean group of islands prepares for landmark back-to-back polls.

    Member of Elections Commission Ali Mohamed Manik told reporters Friday that the ballot papers to be used in the second round of the presidential election, scheduled for Sunday, Nov 10, have been sent for printing, Xinhua reported.

    Speaking at a press conference, Manik said the ballot papers used in the second round will contain the names of all three candidates despite the fact that only the top two candidates will be eligible for the second round run-off.

    The polls Sunday were moved ahead from Nov 16 to meet a constitutional deadline of Nov 11 when a new president must be sworn in.

    Manik said the name of the candidate who comes third in the first round, which will take place Saturday, Nov 9, will be struck off from the ballot papers once the results of the first round are known.

    He said that the third name will be removed using a ‘marker’, and that only two names will appear on the ballot papers when the public goes to the polls Sunday.

    He said it was decided to send the ballot papers for the second round for printing ahead of time, with the names of all three candidates, because it takes a long time to print ballot papers.

    While it normally takes four days to print all ballot papers, Manik said, they are hoping that the press can print the papers in two days this time.

    Manik said the commission will start receiving the ballot papers for the second round Saturday evening.

    President of Elections Commission Fuad Thaufeeg said Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim has assured that the police would not obstruct the election Saturday. Police blocked a previous attempt to elect the president Oct 19.

    The number of eligible voters for the first round of the presidential election is 239,105; while the number of eligible voters for the second round is 239,153 — an increase of 48 voters.

    This is the third time that the Maldives is attempting to hold the presidential election after political infighting derailed two previous rounds.