Maldives Presidential Election: Opposition's Ibrahim Mohamed Solih Beats Pro-China Yameen

| September 24 , 2018 , 10:14 IST

The Maldives presidential election results released on Monday showed Opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) winning with 58.3 percent of the votes, beating incumbent President Abdulla Yameen, who is considered to be more pro-China.

Solih had the support of a united opposition trying to oust Yameen, and there were no other candidates at the election held on Sunday since most of the key dissidents were either in jail or in exile. The voter turnout was recorded at 88 percent of an electorate of 2.6 lakh people.

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As the results showed Solih had an unassailable lead, he called on Yameen to concede defeat.

"I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power," Solih said on television, urging the Yameen to immediately release the numerous political prisoners.

India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement congratulated Solih for his victory.

"Welcome successful completion of Presidential election process in Maldives which, according to preliminary info, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won.  We heartily congratulate him on his victory and hope that the Election Commission will officially confirm the result at the earliest," the MEA said.

"This election marks not only triumph of democratic forces in Maldives, but also reflects firm commitment to democracy and rule of law. In keeping with our 'Neighbourhood First' Policy, India looks forward to working closely with Maldives in further deepening our partnership," it added.

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen had declared a State of Emergency in the island nation on February 5, amidst a political and constitutional crisis, and lifted it after 45 days on March 22. By imposing the State of Emergency, the government was able to annul a February 1 ruling of its Supreme Court that quashed convictions of 9 Opposition leaders and ordered the government to free them.

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A day after the President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen put in place a 15 day 'State of Emergency' on Monday, and the Chief Justice of Maldives was arrested, exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed on Tuesday reached out to India for 'physical presence' and aid. President Yameen, however, warned India to not interfere in their personal matters.