Voting ends peacefully in Maldives

    By IANS,

    Male: Voting ended peacefully in the Maldives presidential election Saturday even as the candidates expressed unhappiness over the manner of balloting.

    Unless a candidate wins an outright majority of over 50 percent, the top two candidates will go into a second round runoff scheduled for Sunday, reported Xinhua.

    Maldives election officials are readying for a possible two rounds of polling this weekend ahead of a crucial constitutional deadline Nov 11, which states that if the country does not elect a president by then, the parliament speaker will take over and oversee the transition of power.

    The winner will be sworn in on Monday.

    Maldives election officials Saturday said due process is being followed in the presidential election and rejected allegations over doubtful voters lists.

    Elections Commission Secretary General Asim Abdul Sattar said no such lists were being used in any polling station across the Maldives and abroad.

    “It’s not a problem even if all the pages have not been signed. There are some lists where only the last page had been signed,” Sattar was quoted as saying by Haveeru Online.

    The assurance came after Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen said he was ‘unhappy’ with the way voting was taking place.

    According to the report, the PPM had signed every page of every voters’ list of the 475 ballot boxes placed across the Maldives and abroad.

    Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had signed the last page of each list while Jumhoory Party (JP) had endorsed only some lists, the report added.

    Abdulla Yameen, Progressive Party of Maldives’ (PPM) presidential candidate and half-brother of former president of Abdul Gayoom, said he had little confidence in the elections being fair.

    Abdul Gayoom said there was foul play involved in the presidential race.

    “Yes absolutely. There are lists at the polling stations that the candidates have not signed and that is completely wrong and these complaints are being filed with the Elections Commissioner as we speak,” he said.

    Yameen was referring to voters lists, which the country’s Supreme Court had ordered need to be approved by all candidates before the election.

    A previous attempt to hold elections Oct 19 was aborted after the PPM and presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim’s party refused to sign the lists resulting in the police blocking the elections.

    However, under intense international pressure the PPM endorsed some of the voters’ lists Thursday. Nonetheless the PPM maintains that some of the lists are inaccurate, raising the possibility that the result of the vote will come under question.

    The first round of polling held Sep 7 was annulled by the Supreme Court after allegations of mass scale vote rigging.

    Yameen was confident that he will either gain over 50 percent of vote in the first round or be among the top two candidates to be eligible for a second round runoff Sunday.

    “We will win in the first round itself or we will go as the leader in the second round, as the leading contestant. We will win the first round by a great majority, I think, if there is no foul play hanky-panky business in the elections,” Yameen said.