Voting in progress in Kelaa by-election

Voting is in progress in Haa Alif Kelaa for the local council by-election ordered by the High Court after ruling the original poll on February 5 invalid.

The ballot box will be closed at 4pm and provisional results are expected by 7.30pm, according to the Elections Commission (EC).

Local daily Haveeru reports that over 600 Kelaa residents had voted by 11am.

Five candidates each from the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party and opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party together with one candidate from the religious conservative Adhaalath Party are competing for the five-member island council while two candidates from each party are contesting the two atoll council seats.

Speaking in Kelaa on Thursday during his ongoing tour of the northernmost atoll, President Mohamed Nasheed hailed the by-election as a sign of restoration of justice in the country.

“I am encouraged by the new reality we are seeing. Today we see a clear sign of justice being restored,” he said.