[JURIST] Voters in the Maldives [BBC country profile] went to the polls Saturday to elect a parliament three weeks after the Indian Ocean tsunami delayed voting. The small island chain has been under the control of Asia's longest serving ruler, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom [official profile] since 1978 and new concerns about intimidation and aid allocation being linked to favorable votes have emerged. While a government spokesman denied charges that the elections were not free or fair, Mohamed Nasheed, a spokesman for the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party [official website] said ten former members of parliament refused to run in the elections due to government intimidation. Nasheed also claimed that rural Maldivians had been made to understand that reconstruction would be linked to voting that favors the current government. AP has more. From the Maldives, the Haveeru Daily has local coverage in English.