Over 80 foreign observers for Maldives elections

Maldives' electoral watchdog on Wednesday said over 80 different foreign parties would observe the upcoming presidential elections in the archipelago.

Elections Commission (EC) member Ahmed Akram revealed that the commission had sanctioned 51 foreign observers while another 34 would act as monitors for the crunch elections slated for September 23.

The United Nations (UN) along with the European Union (EU) meanwhile had refused to observe the elections.

Several countries including the United States, India and the European Union (EU) have continued to cast serious doubts over the September elections.

Some of the concerns include the question marks surrounding the country's electoral watchdog, state institutions and the government's refusal to release jailed political leaders.

The EU meanwhile has adopted a framework for targeted sanctions including asset freeze and travel ban on key government officials over the worsening human rights and political situation in the archipelago.

Foreign Affairs Council during its sit-down in Brussels adopted the framework for targeted restrictive measures against persons and entities responsible for undermining the rule of law or obstructing an inclusive political solution in the Maldives as well as persons and entities responsible for serious human rights violations.

The crunch elections is set to be a two horse race between incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom who is seeking re-election and opposition alliance candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih who has been backed by Yameen's main political rivals including the now jailed former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed.

Unlike in previous elections, the presidential race would be decided in the first round and is widely seen more as a 'referendum' with a straight choice between the opposition and the government more than an election.