Thousands of voters in the Maldives went to the polls on Wednesday to elect their first democratic president. The vote was considered a referendum on President Mamoun Abdul Gayoom, who won the six previous polls by being the only candidate on the ballot. This time, Gayoom faced five challengers, including the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s Mohammad Nasheed, who has been to jail several times in the past on charges, which international rights groups have said were fabricated. The voting took place amid allegations by opposition parties that the polls had been rigged and that many of their members had not found their names on the voter lists.
Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has been in office for 30 years