Maldives announces locations for polling stations

Maldives' electoral watchdog on Sunday announced the locations of polling stations for the upcoming presidential elections.

The locations of polling stations throughout the archipelago have now been officially gazetted by the Elections Commission.

There would be 128 polling stations in the greater capital region which includes Male, Hulhmale and Villi-Male.

According to the announcement, polling stations would also be placed in seven resorts, four prisons and six industrial islands.

Polling stations would also be placed in Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and the UK.

The commission meanwhile had announced that the crunch elections would be held on September 23 while it would open the elections for interested candidates from July 15.

Incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is seeking re-election amid unprecedented political strife in the archipelago.

Former home minister Umar Naseer has also announced his intention to stand for the elections and already launched his campaign as an independent candidate.

The opposition has now selected veteran opposition lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to lead the opposition alliance in the crunch elections after self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed forfeited his presidential ticket.

MDP during its extraordinary congress amended its charter to award the party ticket to Solih after Nasheed pulled out of the September elections after the country's electoral watchdog rejected his candidacy citing his terrorism conviction.

Nasheed's refusal to back-down earlier had threatened to destroy the once unimaginable alliance he had formed with former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the other two opposition party leaders - Gasim Ibrahim and Sheikh Imran Abdulla.

But Nasheed's sudden withdrawal, has now united the once divided opposition and have finally agreed on nominating a single candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.

Hours after Nasheed's withdrawal, the four leaders in a joint statement said the opposition have now reached an agreement to join forces against incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Gasim's Jumhoory Party (JP) along with Imran's religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) have already come out in support of Solih as the opposition alliance candidate for the elections.

According to the long awaited opposition agreement, the presidential candidate would be Solih while JP has nominated lawmaker Faisal Naseem as his running mate.