Seven countries have been invited to observe the Maldives presidential elections which are scheduled to be held on September 23, the media reported on Tuesday.

The Maldives Elections Commission said it had sent invitations to two European countries, two South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries, two Asia-Pacific countries and one Arab country to observe the election, Xinhua news agency reported.

Furthermore, three international bodies have been invited to observe the election. Elections Commissioner Ahmed Akram said the invited countries were selected under the advice of international organizations involved in the monitoring of polls.

More countries and organizations will be provided with the opportunity to monitor and observe the elections once the application is officially opened, Akram added.

Filing of nominations will open from July 15 to July 27 while listing the final candidates will be held on August 9.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives said in May that the party’s presidential candidate for the upcoming election will be incumbent President Abdulla Yameen.

Former Home Minister Umar Naseer earlier announced his intention to stand for the elections and launched his campaign as an independent candidate.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed also applied to contest the election, but his nomination was rejected by the commission as he faces terrorism charges.

The Elections Commission said last month that anyone convicted of a criminal offence could not legally contest in a political party’s presidential primary, warning that such elections would be annulled.