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The Latest: No arrests after Maldives’ elections-eve raid

The Latest: No arrests after Maldives’ elections-eve raid

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

10:35 a.m.

Party officials say no arrests have been made Sunday after an elections-eve raid of the presidential opposition candidate’s main campaign office in Male.

Maldivian president Yameen Abdul Gayoom, right, casts his vote at a polling station during presidential election day in Male, Maldives, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

A warrant for the raid obtained by The Associated Press cited police intelligence of possible vote-buying at the campaign office. The presidential candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, was not in the office during the hours-long raid.

The raid has cast a pall over Sunday’s elections, widely seen as a referendum on the island nation’s young democracy.

The opposition says it bolsters fears that the vote will be rigged in favor of the Maldives’ strongman President Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Both Gayoom and Solih voted in Male shortly after polls opened Sunday morning.

The polls close at 4 p.m. and election officials say results are expected after 10 p.m.

___

9:30 a.m.

Voting has started in the Maldives in a presidential election that is widely seen as a referendum on the island nation’s young democracy.

President Yameen Abdul Gayoom cast his ballot in the capital, Male, about 40 minutes after polls opened. Huge crowds flocked to closely guarded polling stations.

Gayoom has been criticized for cracking down on freedoms. He used his first term to consolidate power, jailing opponents, including his half brother, a former president, and two Supreme Court Justices, or forcing them into exile and asserting control over the courts.

Police raided the opposition presidential candidate’s main campaign office on Saturday evening, citing a warrant to search for evidence of vote-buying.

Members of the opposition decried the raid, saying the election could be rigged in favor of Gayoom.

Maldivians stand in a queue at a polling station during presidential election day in Male, Maldives, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Maldivians stand in a queue at a polling station during presidential election day in Male, Maldives, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Maldivian president Yameen Abdul Gayoom, second left, leaves a polling station after casting his vote during presidential election day in Male, Maldives, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Maldivian president Yameen Abdul Gayoom, second left, leaves a polling station after casting his vote during presidential election day in Male, Maldives, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Maldivians queue at a polling station during presidential election day in Male, Maldives, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Maldivians queue at a polling station during presidential election day in Male, Maldives, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

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