With nearly 140 of the total of 475 ballot boxes counted so far, Progressive Party of Maldives leader Yameen, the half-brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, had bagged 21,573 votes (51.5 per cent) as compared to Maldivian Democratic Party candidate Nasheed, who got 20,499 (48.5 per cent), the media reported.
Nasheed, who won the first multi-party elections in 2008 and ended the 30-year autocratic rule of Gayoom, had resigned under duress in a controversial transfer of power in February 2012 .
The archipelago nation did not hold any mid-term polls as the Constitution does not permit it. Elections Commission chief Fuwad Thowfeek today said preliminary results will be announced by midnight while a formal announcement of the final outcome will be made tomorrow.
Thowfeek told reporters that fewer complaints were received by the Commission during the latest polls. Voters queued up outside polling stations as voting began at 7.30 am across the Maldives for the second round of the much delayed election to choose a new president amidst a constitutional crisis.
The current polls mark the Maldives’ third attempt to elect a new President since September. The run-off became necessary as none of the candidates could muster over 50 per cent votes in the first round of elections held on November 9.
In a crucial re-vote on November 9, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chief Nasheed bagged 46.4 per cent of the votes, a marginal increase from his previous tally of 45.45 per cent votes in the September 7 polls that were annulled by the Supreme Court.