Voter turnout continues to increase in the ongoing presidential election runoff and is expected to surpass the first round held on 9 September.

The contest pits Malé Mayor Mohamed Muizzu, representing the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the People’s National Congress (PNC), against incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who is the candidate of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

The first round of the presidential elections saw Muizzu secure 46 percent of the vote, emerging as the frontrunner. President Solih, who has been in office since November 2018, garnered 39 percent of the vote.

As of 3 p.m., the voter turnout stood at 70.37%, according to the Elections Commission (EC). Data released shows 199,023 people, including 98,863 men and 100,160 women, had voted by 3 p.m. A total of 83,781 people, accounting to 29.63% of total eligible voters, have yet to cast their ballots. As of 2 p.m., nearly 61% of voters had turned out, per EC statistics.

A total of 282,804 people, including 144,410 females and 138,394 males, are eligible to vote in the election.

Polls are set to close at 5 p.m. local time, and provisional results are expected later this evening.