Majlis elections: Polling time extended to 05:30 pm

Voters cast their ballot in a polling station in Male' in the Male' City Council by-elections on January 13, 2024. (Photo/Infinite Moments/Moosa Nadheem)

The Elections Commission decided on Wednesday to extend polling time in next week’s parliamentary elections to 05:30 pm.

The decision comes a day after a meeting of the national elections advisory committee, during which discussions were held on a possible extension on polling time in case it rains on voting day.

The Maldives is experiencing extreme weather conditions at present, alternating between severe heat and heavy rain and thunderstorms, followed by flooding.

Representatives of political parties and independent institutions who attended Tuesday’s meeting were in favor of an extension even if it does not rain, in light of the extreme weather conditions.

The polling time for the parliamentary elections – scheduled for Sunday – was initially set to 08:00 am to 04:00 pm.

But during a meeting on Wednesday morning, the Elections Commission (EC) decided to extend the polling time to 05:30 pm – as suggested by the advisory committee.

The committee members had expressed concern unfavorable weather conditions could result in a low voter turnout.

Total 368 candidates are contesting for 93 seats in this year’s parliamentary elections. The highest number of candidates are from the main opposition MDP – which is contesting 90 seats, followed by the ruling PPM-PNC coalition.