Troubled Maldives holds make-or-break vote

MALÉ, November 9, 2013 (AFP) – Voting got underway in the Maldives Saturday in its third bid to choose a president and end unrest sparked by the toppling of their first freely-elected leader 21 months ago. “God willing, we will win this election in one round,” he said at a rally in the capital Male.

Nearly one million holidaymakers visited the Maldives last year but the tourist industry dreads the prospect of more instability after suffering mass cancellations after Nasheed’s downfall.

Nasheed resigned on February 7, 2012, in a statement made on national television in the aftermath of a police mutiny. He later claimed he and his family had been threatened with violence. “Voting began at 475 polling booths across the Maldives and several foreign capitals where Maldivians live,” Elections Commission official Aishath Reema told AFP.

She said balloting will continue for eight and a half hours for the 239,105 electorate to vote. Results are expected Sunday and if none of the three candidates get more than 50 percent, a run-off is due for Sunday.

The Indian Ocean archipelago, whose turquoise seas have long been a draw for foreigners, has been the focus of intense diplomatic pressure since jud