Maldives hopes for new leader after scuttled votes

MALÉ, November 16, 2013 (AFP) – Organisers of a troubled presidential election in the Maldives said they hoped to name a winner of a run-off contest Saturday after previous attempts were scuttled. Chief Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek told reporters that he hoped they will be able to declare a final winner in an election where former president Mohamed Nasheed is the front-runner after security nearly 47 percent at the first round last week.

“Everyone is highly anticipating the time when a new president is elected. And so, we are trying to announce the permanent results by very early tomorrow morning,” Thowfeek said on national television.

“We will be able to share that joy with the citizens by tomorrow.”

The run-off vote got underway following intense international pressure to elect a new leader and end months of political unrest.

Polling booths across the Indian Ocean archipelago opened at 7:30am (0230 GMT), with the electorate of 239,000 given eight and a half hours to choose between two candidates.

Officials said there were queues outside some of the 475 polling booths scattered across the islands when voting began.

After the results of one election were ann