Maldivians to vote in India, Sri Lanka
Maldivians living abroad will be able to exercise their right to vote
outside the country for the first time in this year's presidential
election, the Elections Commission (EC) has announced.
Ballot boxes will be placed in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and
Singapore to allow diaspora voting in the nation's first multi-party
polls, due by 10 October. Estimates suggest this could enable an extra
14,000 to vote.
But in the country, citizens may be unable to participate if they
fail to register with the island where they plan to cast their vote,
according to a mandate issued by the EC.
The Elections Commission, now consisting of five independent members,
said conditions for choosing the locations include a large Maldivian
population, a Maldivian High Commission, and direct flights from the
Trivandrum in India, Colombo in Sri Lanka, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia,
and Singapore satisfied these requirements.
Elections Commissioner Mohamed Ibrahim said in a Friday television
broadcast, "We've got a short period before elections and we have to be
prepared for a second round as well, so we found the best four places."
The expatriate Maldivian populations in Trivandrum and Colombo are
estimated at between 5,000 and 6,000, whilst 2,500 to 3,000 Maldivians
live in Malaysia, and 500 to 1,000 in Singapore.
Most are believed to be students.