Transparency Maldives: Vote secrecy not guaranteed in some polling stations

Electoral officials prepare to open polling in the presidential election runoff on September 30, 2023. (Sun Photo/Ibrahim Shamveel)

The anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency Maldives (TA) says their observers found that the secrecy of the vote wasn’t guaranteed in some of the polling stations.

In a statement regarding the opening of the polls on Saturday morning, TA said that while their observers concluded that the polling stations were set up to ensure a secret vote at 96 percent of the polling stations, this was less clear in about 4 percent of all cases observed.

The organization said the polling stations will be closely watched by their observers.

TA said that the opening of the polls was “smooth and well administered.”

“The opening procedure went well, with all polling stations open by 9:00 am. 94.3% of polling stations opened within the first 10 minutes of the required opening time, and 5.4% of the polling stations opened between 8:10 - 8:30 am,” said the organization.

Voters cast their ballot in a polling station in Male' in the 2023 presidential election runoff on September 30, 2023. (Sun Photo)

TA said that candidates were well represented at polling stations, and that police were operating outside at 97 percent of the observed polling stations at the opening time.

Polls are set to close at 05:00 pm. Elections Commission has stated that it will not grant an extension to polling time.

The candidates contesting the runoff are; MDP’s Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the incumbent president, against Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, the opposition PPM-PNC’s candidate.