Maldives police raid Opposition’s office on eve of election

September 22, 2018 11:55 pm | Updated September 23, 2018 12:10 am IST - COLOMBO

 Maldivian policemen stand guard in front of the building housing the election office of the Opposition presidential candidate in Male, Maldives on September 22, 2018.

Maldivian policemen stand guard in front of the building housing the election office of the Opposition presidential candidate in Male, Maldives on September 22, 2018.

Maldives Police raided the Opposition’s main campaign office on Saturday, on the eve of the presidential elections being held amidst concerns of rigging.

Police said their action was to prevent “illegal activities”, but the Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said in a statement that cops stormed the premises around 4 p.m. local time without a warrant. The Hindu tried reaching the police spokesman over telephone and text messages for a comment but did not get a reply.

 

Party workers, Opposition activists said, were prevented from entering the premises. “The police asked those who were inside to leave. Around 15 policemen are still outside the campaign office” MDP Youth President Mickail Naseem told The Hindu from Male over telephone at local time 8.30 p.m.

The police’s move on Saturday, perceived by government critics as part of a political crackdown on Opposition, has enhanced fears of a fraudulent vote on Sunday, though the Maldives Elections Commission has assured the people of free and fair elections. Earlier Ahmed Akram, Commissioner and spokesperson at the Maldives Elections Commission, told The Hindu that the polls were being held exactly by the rule book.

Incumbent President Abdulla Yameen is seeking a second term, running against senior legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih backed by a coalition of opposition parties. Nearly 2,60,000 Maldivians will vote on Sunday in what has become a controversial election.

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