Voting in Maldives parliamentary elections opened on Saturday under the close watch of local and international election observers and a tight security cover, officials said.

An estimated 240,000 voters were registered to vote.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party led by former president Mohamed Nasheed is challenging the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives led by incumbent President Abdulla Yameen.

It is the first parliamentary election since Mr. Yameen took office in 2013.