Vote counting is underway across the Maldives and three overseas locations after polling came to a close in the fiercely contested parliamentary elections, the outcome of which is expected to shape the country’s political landscape for the next five years. The provisional results of the election are expected to be announced in later in the evening.

The election featured a field of 386 candidates vying for the 93 seats in parliament. The EC reported that 284,663 individuals were eligible to vote in this election, and 602 polling stations were set up across the country and in three overseas locations: Thiruvananthapuram in India, Colombo in Sri Lanka and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Polling commenced at 8 a.m. and was scheduled to close at 5:30 p.m.

In the election, President Mohamed Muizzu’s People’s National Congress (PNC) is aiming to gain the upper hand in the now opposition-controlled legislative assembly, which faces stiff competition from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and its offshoot, The Democrats. The recent fallout between President Muizzu and his former boss, ex-President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, is also expected to weigh heavily on his party’s chances at the ballot box.

Transparency Maldives (TM) earlier reported that the elections progressed smoothly and were free from any significant issues, with the exception of minor concerns regarding ballot secrecy.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) also expressed concerns regarding ballot secrecy at some polling stations, however, said the arrangements were deemed generally satisfactory.

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) launched ‘Operation Blue Tide’ to guarantee safety and security during the electoral process. Police officers were deployed at all polling stations and managed traffic flow near these locations, ensuring a peaceful and secure voting environment.

While no major concerns and complaints were filed with the EC regarding the election, police reported that three individuals were taken into custody for displaying their ballot papers and for disrupting peace. One was arrested in Malé, while two others were apprehended in Fiyoari Island, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, police said.