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Maldives Presidential Elections 2018: Voting Begins Amid Fears of Rigging

Incumbent President Yameen is seeking a second term as the candidate from the Progressive Party of Madives. For months now, Yameen has been peddling on the agenda of development, which is reflected in his speeches and inaugurations of several projects including the China Maldives Friendship Bridge.

Aishwarya Kumar | News18.com@aishwaryak03

Updated:September 23, 2018, 11:13 AM IST
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Maldives Presidential Elections 2018: Voting Begins Amid Fears of Rigging
President Abdulla Yameen was s. (File Photo: Reuters)
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Maldives goes to polls on Sunday to elect the country’s new President amid political turmoil and fears of vote rigging. More than two lakh people will vote to elect their new leader between prime contenders Abdulla Yameen and opposition candidate Ibraim Mohamed Solih, in what will be the third Presidential elections of the island since 2008.

Incumbent President Yameen is seeking a second term as the candidate from the Progressive Party of Madives. For months now, Yameen has been peddling on the agenda of development, which is reflected in his speeches and inaugurations of several projects including the China Maldives Friendship Bridge. Senior lawmaker Solih is looking to become the President for the first time. He is the common candidate backed by all opposition parties and is also backed by former President, Mohamed Nasheed.

Sources told News18 that as per internal polling conducted by the parties, Solih has more than 60 per cent chances of winning.

However, the elections of Maldives will take place in heightened atmosphere of uncertainty, amid controversies, as fears of poll rigging and violence.

The Asian Network For Free Elections said that the denial of international observers and media organisations is a reflection of the prevalent polling misconduct in the country. Countries like India and the US too, have been critical of the system and have appealed to the Maldive authorities to hold elections in a democratic manner.

Investments made in Maldives by other countries, especially China, have come under the radar over the last few months. Exiled leader of the opposition, Mohamed Nasheed, has said China's actions in the Indian Ocean archipelago amount to a "land grab" and is "colonialism", with 80 percent of its debt held by Beijing.

The massive infrastructure growth is, however, a plank that Yameen has built his campaign on. That said, the alleged curbs on democratic rights, including those of freedom of speech and expression, have been held against his government too.
| Edited by: Zoya Mateen
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