New Delhi, Sep 9 (EFE).- Presidential elections kicked off in the Maldives on Saturday under the watchful eye of the European Union (EU), which deployed an observation mission to ensure the transparency of the process.
The nearly 300,000 eligible voters are expected to choose their representative for the top office from a record eight candidates.
The notable contenders include incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldivian Democratic Party and Mohamed Muizzu of the opposition PPM-PNC coalition.
In case no candidate secures an absolute majority of more than 50 percent of the votes, a runoff will be held on Sep. 30.
Voting commenced at the 574 polling stations across the archipelago at 8am local time and are expected to close at 4pm, according to local media reports.
In July, the EU confirmed the visit of a delegation led by Spanish Socialist MEP Nacho Sanchez Amor, to consolidate democratic reforms and their implementation, in response to a request from the Maldivian government.
Solih came to power after defeating Abdulla Yameen in the 2018 elections following several days of uncertainty, as the Supreme Court ruled out allegations of electoral fraud by his then rival.
After his electoral defeat, former President Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison for money laundering and accepting bribes, in one of the archipelago’s biggest corruption scandals. EFE