Maldives votes to elect new President
Male: Voting was held on Saturday in Maldives for the second multi-party Presidential elections with long queues of people outside polling stations in this Indian Ocean archipelago, which has seen a series of unsettling political events in the last eighteen months.
Voting began at 7:30 am (0230 GMT) at 470 polling stations set up on 192 inhabited island and 40 resorts which is likely to see over 2.30 lakh voters exercising their franchise in the country famous as a paradise destination.
Election Commission chief Fuwad Taufeeq told a news agency that voting started at 7.30 am. At all the polling booths and so far there were no reports of any untoward incident.
"Polling is going on smooth. No issues have been reported so far," he said.
President Mohammed Waheed along with his wife reached at Ghiyasuddin International School to cast his vote.
Talking to reporters, Waheed said that elections results must be accepted by all parties, but refuted that he anticipated any law and order issue during the polls.
Ghiyasuddin school was a major polling station with at least five ballot boxes kept at different locations. Long queues of enthusiastic voters were also seen outside Maafaanu madarsa, Hiriya School, CHSE school.
Four candidates - incumbent Waheed, ex-president and Maldivian Democratic Party candidate Mohamed Nasheed, brother of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Progressive Party of Maldives candidate Abdulla Yameen and Jumhooree Party candidate tycoon Gasim Ibrahim - are in fray for the top job.
Over 2,229 local observers, 102 international observers, 1,343 representatives of political parties besides 1,642 local and 225 international journalists are keeping a hawk`s eye on the developments in this young multi-party democracy.
Ibrahim Nasheed, 42, who runs a cafe, said the polling arrangements have been very good.
"I have been voting since I was 18 but this election looks quite fair with good arrangements," he said.
Homemaker Abba Adam accompanied her 76-year-old mother Fatma to vote. Speaking in local language Dhivehi, she said her mother has been a regular voter and never misses any opportunity to exercise her franchise.
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