In a bid to encourage greater participation and rectify a record-low turnout in the first round of presidential elections, the Elections Commission (EC) has announced an extension of polling hours for the upcoming second round of voting, scheduled for the 30th of this month.

The decision, made by the EC, will see polling stations open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., giving voters an additional hour to cast their ballots. The EC hopes this change will lead to increased voter engagement and a higher turnout in the second round.

During the initial round of presidential elections held on Saturday, turnout reached an all-time low of 79 percent. More than 57,000 eligible voters abstained from voting.

The second round of voting will be contested by the opposition PPM/PNC’s presidential candidate, Dr Mohamed Muizzu, who secured the most votes in the first round. He will face incumbent President and MDP presidential candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.