More than a quarter of a million people will vote on Sunday for the next leader of the tropical Maldives in an election criticised internationally for a lack of transparency.
Voters in the Indian Ocean archipelago will go to the polls on September 23, officials said, with election authorities to accept candidate nominations next month.
The exiled former president of the Maldives accused authorities on Wednesday of mistreating a supreme court judge thrown into prison following the imposition of a state of emergency in the Indian Ocean island nation.
Police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of opposition supporters who took to the streets late on Thursday after the court ruling, a major challenge to the authority of President Abdulla Yameen.
A liberal blogger was stabbed to death in the Maldives' capital on Sunday, his family and colleagues said, the latest media personality to be targeted in the troubled honeymoon destination.
The last free opposition leader in the Maldives has been arrested as part of a major government crackdown on rival politicians who narrowly failed to seize control of parliament in the honeymoon islands.
Security forces physically ejected protesting MPs from the Maldives parliament in chaotic scenes during a failed opposition attempt to impeach the speaker and destabilise the president ahead of elections next year.
The exiled former leader of the Maldives on Sunday announced plans to take control of the national parliament after hammering out a rare unity pact with his politically influential erstwhile enemies.
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, whose administration has jailed most of his opponents, is aware of an opposition plot to overthrow him with the support of "external forces", the president's spokesman said.