MALE, MALDIVES, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Maldivian presidential elections that kicked off on Saturday morning has been endorsed by over 400 monitors as peaceful but concerns have been raised that about 2 percent of the vote could have had its secrecy compromised, an official said here.
Transparency Maldives, who are fielding the largest number of monitors, told media that the administration of the polls has been efficient and praised the Elections Commission and its stakeholders.
"The opening procedure went relatively well with 99.5 percent of polling stations opened before 8.30 a.m. and 83 percent of all polling stations were opened within the first ten minutes. All ballot boxes were empty and verified as empty before the start of the polls," Transparency Maldives Director Uz. Hussain Siraj told media.
Observers will remain at the polling stations till they are closed in the evening and Siraj urged the authorities to maintain peace.
"We also note that the police were present at 95 percent of the observed polling stations at the time of opening and the observers concluded that the polling stations were set up to safeguard the secrecy of the vote in the majority of 98.2 percent of the cases. However, this was less clear in about 2 percent of the cases observed for which we are closely observing and monitoring," he added raising concerns about credibility.
Observations made by the 77 foreign monitors from the Commonwealth and India are yet to be released.
Four candidates are vying for the presidency including former president Mohamed Nasheed who was controversially ousted 18 months ago, and incumbent president Mohamed Waheed.