Extra one hour for voting in runoff

Elections Commission (EC)'s chairman Fuad Thaufeeq (C) speaks to press on July 12, 2023. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Shathiu Abdulla)

Elections Commission (EC) has announced that the polling time in the presidential election runoff will be extended by one extra hour than during the first round.

In a press conference on Tuesday, EC’s chairman Fuad Thaufeeq said polling in the second round of voting will be held from 08:00 am to 05:00 pm on September 30.

The polling time during the first round had been from 08:00 am to 04:00 pm.

“The counting of the ballots will begin 30 minutes after polls close. The final results of the election will be announced by 03:00 pm on October 8, 2023,” he said.

EC’s vice chairman Ismail Habeeb said the commission decided to extend polling time because of the low turnout in the first round.

He said the commission wants to give time for more people to vote.

Habeeb said the commission has also extended voter re-registration from two to three days.

“The commission has decided to open re-registration on the 15th. We previously decided to have re-registration open on 16th and 17th, but today, the commission decided to extend the period to three days,” he said.

Statistics released by the EC show 225,486 people voted in Saturday’s election. It was 79.8 percent of 282,395 people eligible to vote in the election.

It was the lowest turnout in a presidential election.

EC had extended polling time in past elections, but did not provide an extension on Saturday. Voters in some of the polling stations had expressed displeasure when poll workers began closing queues at 04:00 pm.

Habeeb said that voters will not be allowed to queue after polling closes at 05:00 pm in the runoff either.

EC’s chairman Fuad announced the final results of the first round of voting during the press conference.

The opposition PPM-PNC coalition’s candidate Dr. Mohamed Muizzu leads with 101,635 votes, while MDP’s Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the incumbent president, won 86,161 votes.

The two parties are engaged in discussions with other candidates for a coalition deal for the runoff.