A file picture shows an aerial view of the Maldives. EPA/FILE/UN/EVAN SCHNEIDER/HANDOUT

Maldives to hold presidential runoff on Sep. 30

New Delhi, Sep 10 (EFE).- Maldives is to hold runoffs to the presidential elections on Sep. 30, after none of the candidates, official sources said Sunday.

Ismail Habeeb, vice president and spokesman of the Maldives electoral commission, announced that there will be a second round of voting on Sep. 30.

The announcement comes after none of the candidates in Saturday’s elections obtained 50 percent of the votes required to govern in the archipelago,

The candidate of the opposition coalition PPM-PNC, Mohamed Muizu, led the first round with 46 percent of the votes counted, according to preliminary results.

President and candidate of the Maldivian Democratic Party, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, obtained 39 percent of the votes.

These elections are being watched with special attention in South Asia, given that the opposition leader is inclined towards China and the incumbent president towards India.

There were nearly 300,000 eligible voters for the elections that witnessed a record eight candidates running for top office.

As none of the candidates secured the required 50 percent of the popular support, the top two are to face-off in the runoff elections.

Saturday’s polls were conducted under the watchful eye of the European Union (EU), which deployed an observation mission to ensure the transparency of the process.

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