EC president Fuwad Thowfeek said the turnout was much lower than what it was in the annulled September 7 election.
    
"Last time, a large number of people queued in the beginning. But we have no way of knowing the numbers on queue this time around. From the broadcasts on TV channels, we know that the number is lower," he said.
    
Polling officially ended at 3:30 pm local time for the 2, 39,105 eligible voters, but many were still waiting in queues to cast their ballot, local media reported.
    
There was confusion on whether a run-off will be held on Sunday as the EC said that Jumhoory Party (JP) and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) were yet to endorse the voters' lists, a charge later denied by the parties.
    
If no candidate gets over 50 percent of votes in Saturday's balloting, a run-off will be required between the candidate who receives the maximum number of votes and the runner-up.
    
Saturday's polls is Maldives' third attempt to elect a President in as many months. The country needs to have a new President in place by November 11 when the incumbents’ term ends.
    
The EC had earlier scheduled the run-off for November 16, but brought it forward to Sunday to avoid a constitutional crisis.
    
However, EC member Ali Mohamed Manik told a news portal that JP is yet to sign any lists for the run-off, while PPM has stopped signing them on Saturday.
    
"If there has to be a second round, it is to be held tomorrow. However, we are facing some obstacles," said Thowfeek.
    
Former President Mohammed Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) issued a statement – “Congratulating the people of the Maldives for peacefully and patiently voting in the new first round of presidential elections. The Maldivian people have, once again, shown their unrelenting commitment to democracy.”

(Agencies)

Latest News from World News Desk