The delegation of Indian observers present during the first round of polls will be back on September 24 ahead of the second round to be held on September 28.

The Indian Election Observers team came here at the invitation of the Elections Commission of Maldives to observe the presidential elections on September 7. The team included former Chief Election Commissioners J.M. Lyngdoh, B.B. Tandon and N. Gopalaswami and former High Commissioner to Maldives, S.M. Gavai.

Mr. Gopalaswami, who is part of a SAARC team of observers to the polls in the Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, will join the team a day later, on September 25. During the first round, there were six teams of Indian observers, four of which observed polling in Malé and surrounding islands of Villingli, Hulhumalé, Thulusudhoo, Huraa and Bandos, while one team visited Hithadhoo, Maradhoo, Feydhoo, Meedhoo and Hulhudhoo islands of the Seenu Atoll (Addu) in the south and another team visited Kulhudhuffushi, Hanimadhoo, Dhidhoo and nearby islands in Haa Dhallu and Haa Alifu Atolls in the north.

Overall, the delegation covered 158 polling booths across the country which is 33.6 per cent of total polling booths. The observers said they were very impressed by the conduct of the elections. “The polling was orderly and unblemished by any notable incident. It was also an enjoyable experience for the voter. The voters’ lists were accurate and prominently displayed.

The ballot boxes were opened and closed as per the scheduled time. The discipline, patience and dignity of the voter and the sheer competence, industry and cheerfulness of the election staff were quite admirable. The police were ubiquitous but discreetly non-intrusive,” said Mr. Lyngdoh, in a statement at a debriefing session organised by the Elections Commission of Maldives, on behalf of the Indian team.

Enquiries with officials here affirmed that there was no provision for an interim government in the Constitution. In effect, President Mohamed Waheed, who was placed last in the polls held on September 7, has all powers to effect any change he desires.