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Maldives polling ends in presidential election

Another round of voting has finished to elect the Maldives' next president. It is the third attempt at a presidential election in the past two months, with previous votes being annulled or cancelled.

Polling stations have closed Saturday in the Maldives after citizens there and abroad were tasked with electing the country's president. An election in September had been annulled by the Supreme Court, and a second go in October was cancelled after police declared it illegal.

This time, though, all three candidates had agreed to Saturday's polls. The field is led by front runner Mohamed Nasheed, who has previously served as president and heads the Maldivian Democratic Party. He secured 45 percent in the first round of voting in September, but the results were annulled before a runoff could take place.

Nasheed's challengers are Abdulla Yameen from the Progressive Party of Maldives, and the Jumhoory Party's Qasim Ibrahim.

Results of the vote are expected later Saturday. Election officials aim to get the ballots tallied quickly so a runoff can be planned for Sunday if needed.

According to the country's constitution, a new president must be in place by November 11 – the last day of current President Mohamed Waheed Hassan's term.

mz/lw (AP, AFP, dpa)