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Voting begins in historic referendum to decide on system of government

The historic referendum to choose the system of government (parliamentary or presidential) began at 7 am this morning and will close at 7 pm this evening unless people are at the polling stations at 7 pm to vote, in which case they will be allowed to vote before closing the ballot box. Despite this official claim, some resort islands did not get their ballot boxes by 7 am, such as Dhonveli Beach Resort, just 25 minutes from Male', got its box around 8 am.
Voting stopped shortly in G.Dh. Rathafandhoo around 9 am, due to a voting official, believed to be Katheeb (Island Chief) entering the polling both with a voter to cast the vote for the person. Reformists monitoring the booth got angry and threatened to throw away the box if such rigging tactics are used.
Representatives of MDP are counting the number of persons entering each polling station, to tally with the count later.
Voting is going on in all inhabited islands and several resorts and industrial islands totalling over 230.
For the first time, in this referendum, 18-21 year olds will be voting. Out of Gayyoom's 29 appointed members in the Special Majlis, 27 members voted against that motion.
And, also, for the first time, vote counting will be conducted in the respective islands and preliminary results announced this evening, rather than the ballot boxes being brought to Male' by police.
In a desperate attempt, the Maldives Dictator allowed Police and Army to vote for the first time in this poll, breaking away from the traditions. They never voted in any poll to this day.
Despite vote rigging attempts and scams, reformists are confident that they can monitor this event well enough to ensure that all goes smoothly.
One of the major concerns of most reformists is that there are hundreds of deceased names in the electoral roll or register and the authorities might use that number to rig the vote. However, reformists monitoring the ballot stations are vigilant and watching out for such events.


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