Maldives election commission officials prepare ballot papers for counting votes at a polling station at the end of the presidential election day in Male, Maldives September 23, 2018. REUTERS/Ashwa Faheem
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The Maldives' opposition leader was ahead in early counting for Sunday's controversial election by a large margin, local media said, after a campaign marred by police raids on the opposition and allegations of rigging in favour of strongman President Abdulla Yameen.Preliminary results released by two private media outlets placed Solih in the lead with 58.1 percent of the vote in the two man race, with around half of all ballots counted.Yameen, who was widely tipped to retain power, has imprisoned or forced into exile almost all of his main rivals.The Elections Commission said balloting was extended by three hours until 7:00 pm (1400 GMT) because of technical glitches suffered by tablet computers containing electoral rolls, with officials using manual systems to verify voters' identities.Mohamed Nasheed, who was elected president of a newly-democratic Maldives in 2008 but who now lives in exile, urged the international community prior to the count to reject the results of a flawed election.
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