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Maldivian authorities assure free vote amid fears of…

MALE, Maldives (AP) – 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.

Election campaign material of Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom decorate a road in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Yameen’s only contender in Sunday’s election is longtime lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, backed by former President Mohamed Nasheed who is now living in exile in neighboring Sri Lanka. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

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.

Maldivian election officers gather at the election commissioner's office center in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The country will hold its third-ever multiparty presidential election on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Maldivian election officers gather at the election commissioner’s office center in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The country will hold its third-ever multiparty presidential election on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

A Maldivian election worker prepares poll material at the election commissioner's office center in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The country will hold its third-ever multiparty presidential election on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

A Maldivian election worker prepares poll material at the election commissioner’s office center in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The country will hold its third-ever multiparty presidential election on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

A Maldivian election worker prepares poll material at the election commissioner's office center in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The country will hold its third-ever multiparty presidential election on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

A Maldivian election worker prepares poll material at the election commissioner’s office center in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The country will hold its third-ever multiparty presidential election on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Maldivian Elections Commission chief Ahmed Shareef speaks during a media briefing in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The country will hold its third-ever multiparty presidential election on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Maldivian Elections Commission chief Ahmed Shareef speaks during a media briefing in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The country will hold its third-ever multiparty presidential election on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Election campaign material of Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom decorate a road in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Yameen's only contender in Sunday's election is longtime lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, backed by former President Mohamed Nasheed who is now living in exile in neighboring Sri Lanka. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Election campaign material of Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom decorate a road in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Yameen’s only contender in Sunday’s election is longtime lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, backed by former President Mohamed Nasheed who is now living in exile in neighboring Sri Lanka. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

A Maldivian police officer stands guard at the main election material distribution center in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Maldivians will go to the polls on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

A Maldivian police officer stands guard at the main election material distribution center in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Maldivians will go to the polls on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Election campaign material decorate a street ahead of Sunday's presidential elections in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Election campaign material decorate a street ahead of Sunday’s presidential elections in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

A Maldivian election worker prepares polling material at the election commissioner's office center in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Maldivians go to the polls on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

A Maldivian election worker prepares polling material at the election commissioner’s office center in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Maldivians go to the polls on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

A Maldivian police officer stands guard as election workers prepare poll material at the main election material distribution center in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The country will hold its third-ever multiparty presidential election on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

A Maldivian police officer stands guard as election workers prepare poll material at the main election material distribution center in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The country will hold its third-ever multiparty presidential election on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

A Maldivian man walks past an election campaign office of Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom and his running mate Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Yameen's only contender in Sunday's election is longtime lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, backed by former President Mohamed Nasheed who is now living in exile in neighboring Sri Lanka. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

A Maldivian man walks past an election campaign office of Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom and his running mate Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed in Male, Maldives, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Yameen’s only contender in Sunday’s election is longtime lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, backed by former President Mohamed Nasheed who is now living in exile in neighboring Sri Lanka. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

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