Maldives run-off set for Oct. 29

MALE, Oct 11, 2008 (AFP) - The Maldives' first-ever democratic presidential poll will be decided in a run-off on October 29, after the first round failed to deliver a clear winner, officials said. The run-off date is well outside the 10-day limit laid down by the election law.

Gayoom Nasheed

The head-to-head vote will pit Asia's longest serving leader, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, against his most outspoken critic and former political prisoner Mohamed “Anni” Nasheed.

During Wednesday's first round, Gayoom polled 40.63 percent of the vote, while Nasheed secured 25.09 percent. According to the election law, the run-off should be held within 10 days, but Election Commissioner Mohamed Ibrahim insisted the delay was necessary. “This is the best way for us to organise this,” Ibrahim told reporters.

“It's for candidates to campaign. It's to correct issues with the voter registry. It's to get people their rights”.
The first round of polling appeared flawed due to various irregularities, which Ibrahim said included problems with voter lists, identity cards and indelible ink washing off voters' hands.

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