Maldives opposition hopes fair, free by-elections will lead to early presidential poll

Male, April 14: The Maldives opposition has expressed confidence of a free and fair poll, as voting got underway today for by-elections.

International affairs spokesperson for the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said that his party led by former President Mohamed Nasheed hopes the peaceful conditions in the ongoing polls will lead to an early presidential election.

“Polling is going peacefully and we have confidence with the elections commission that the elections will be free and fair. We are thankful to everyone to help make this peaceful. This shows the conditions to hold peaceful elections exist and thus there is no reason hold back on an early presidential election,” Xinhua quoted Ghafoor, as saying.

His statement came after voting in the by-elections for the Kaashidhoo and Thimarafushi constituencies and the Thaa Atoll Gaadhiffushi and Haa dhaal Atoll Kumundhoo Island councils began today.

The Elections Commission had earlier said it had received 21 complaints regarding the parliamentary by-elections for the Kaafu Atoll Kaashidhoo and Thaa Atoll Thimarafushi constituencies and the Kumundhoo council by-election.

The Maldives witnessed political turmoil after former vice president Mohammed Waheed became president following a controversial power transfer.

His predecessor Nasheed claimed he was ousted by a military coup and has demanded early presidential elections in the Maldives.

The United States has also supported an early presidential election and has come forward to assist in conducting a free and fair poll. (ANI)