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The Latest: Official: Campaign office raided in bribery case

September 22, 2018
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Maldives' opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, center, waves as he walks in a street march with supporters in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Solih, the only contender in Sunday's election against incumbent President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, is backed by former President Mohamed Nasheed who is now living in exile in neighboring Sri Lanka. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

MALE, Maldives (AP) — The Latest on the Maldives’ presidential election (all times local):

11:10 p.m.

An opposition party spokesman in the Maldives says police obtained a warrant to search the main campaign office of the party’s presidential candidate based on police intelligence that the office was being used to coordinate vote-buying.

Spokesman Shauna Aminath says police obtained the 14-hour warrant Saturday to search the office for documents or other evidence of bribery ahead of Sunday’s Maldives election, which is widely seen as a referendum on the country’s democracy.

Aminath says the warrant also names senior opposition campaign team member Ahmed Shahid as a suspect. Several calls to Shahid went unanswered.

A spokesman for former president Mohamed Nasheed said from Colombo, the capital of neighboring Sri Lanka, that the raid showed that the election would be unfair.

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10:05 p.m.

A spokesman for the former president of the Maldives says a police raid of the opposition presidential candidate’s main campaign office Saturday in Male supports opposition claims that the vote will be rigged.

In Colombo, the capital of neighboring Sri Lanka, Hamid Abdul Gafoor, a spokesman for former president Mohamed Nasheed, said incumbent President Yameen Abdul Gayoom “wants to muzzle his way” to victory on Sunday.

The Maldives’ third multiparty presidential elections since becoming a democracy a decade ago is seen as a referendum on whether democracy will survive in the country.

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7:45 p.m.

Police in the Maldives say they have raided the main campaign office of the opposition presidential candidate on the eve of an election that is seen as a referendum on whether democracy will survive in the country.

Police spokesman Ahmed Shifan says police raided Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s campaign office late Saturday. He did not give any other details.

The move is a sign of a crackdown against the opposition by the government that has raised fears that Sunday’s election may be rigged to favor President Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s party.

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5:10 p.m.

Opposition supporters in the Maldives are demanding that officials ensure a free and fair presidential election, as the country prepares to vote in an election seen as a referendum on whether democracy will stay.

The archipelago nation’s election chief, Ahmed Shareef, said Saturday that all measures have been taken to hold Sunday’s election in a free and fair manner and without violence.

Still, opposition activists voiced fears that the polls may be rigged to favor President Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s party.

Beyond the postcard image the Maldives has of luxury resorts and white sand beaches, the 400,000 citizens of the former British protectorate have struggled to maintain the democratic system established in 2008.

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