Dhaka: 12:00 PM, Tue, 23 Apr, 2019

Opposition candidate Solih wins Maldives' presidential poll

Amirul : risingbd.com
Publish on: 2018-09-24 4:36:26 PM     ||     Updated: 2018-09-27 11:38:52 AM

International Desk: Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has won the Maldives' presidential election in a surprise defeat of President Abdulla Yameen.

He took 134,616 votes to beat Mr Yameen, who received 96,132, provisional results showed.

Mr Yameen, who has been accused of crushing dissent in the archipelago, admitted defeat, saying he accepted the result.

The Maldives is a key battleground in the rivalry between China and India.

The US and India have welcomed Mr Solih's win. Mr Yameen had drawn the Maldives closer to China, which has stepped up its presence in the Indian Ocean in recent years.

Many opposition politicians in the Maldives have been jailed under Mr Yameen, and the US and European Union had threatened sanctions before the vote if the democratic situation did not improve.

Supporters of Mr Solih took to the streets in celebration overnight.

"The message is loud and clear. The people of Maldives want change, peace and justice," Mr Solih, widely known as Ibu, told reporters in the capital, Male.

In a televised address to the nation on Monday, Mr Yameen said he had congratulated Mr Solih, while defending his record.

President Yameen had been widely expected to win another term in office and some observers had believed the election was rigged in his favour. Voter turnout was 89%,

"No major issues were reported in the vote counting process as well as with the voters list, which will affect the results," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Outside the main opposition campaign centre in Male, hundreds of people gathered overnight to celebrate, chanting "Ibu, Ibu, Ibu".

Exiled ex-President Mohamed Nasheed, who was ousted by Mr Yameen in 2012, said on Twitter that Mr Solih had done "an extremely good service" to the people of Maldives.

Polls opened at 08:00 (03:00 GMT) on Sunday, and closed three hours later than expected, at 19:00, due to long queues.

Source: BBC

risingbd/Dhaka/Sept 24, 2018/AI