Published: Mon, September 24, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Maldives opposition leader wins upset poll victory

Maldives opposition leader wins upset poll victory

Both President Yameen Abdul Gayoom and the opposition candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, voted in the capital, Male, shortly after polls opened.

"In view of events in Maldives", the country's British ambassador, James Dauris, tweeted Saturday, "it's easy to understand why so many people are concerned about what might happen on Election Day".

Following his victory, Mr Solih said: "This is a moment of happiness, a moment of hope".

"I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power", he said on television.

Before the election, there were warnings that Yameen could try to hold on to power at all costs.

A police spokesperson confirmed the raid to the BBC, without providing further details.

For their part, police said in a brief statement that they acted to prevent "illegal activities". The U.S. had threatened to sanction Maldivian officials if the elections were not free and fair.

Mohammad Nasheed, the head of Solih's Maldivian Democratic Party said that the vote would bring the country back to the democratic path.

Voting has started in the Maldives in a presidential election that is widely seen as a referendum on the island nation's young democracy.

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Yameen told supporters on the eve of the election he had overcome "huge obstacles" since controversially winning power in a contested run-off in 2013, but had handled the challenges "with resilience".

Yameen would have no option but to concede defeat, said Nasheed, who was elected president of a newly-democratic Maldives in 2008 but lives in exile.

The statement came a day after exiled former leader Mohamed Nasheed urged the global community not to accept the outcome of what he said would be a flawed ballot.

During this time, President Yameen travelled to a few islands to inaugurate the government's development projects. Around 10,000 people attended, about twice as many as at the governing party's rallies, though in the past the government has used force to stifle protests and dismissed dissenters as terrorists.

She said, "The Maldives risks becoming just another banana republic". "The political environment in the country is heavily tipped in favour of the ruling party, as critical media are being subdued into silence, and Opposition figures sentenced to jail terms or forced into exile for politically motivated charges", ANFREL said. Mr. Yameen then declared a state of emergency and prevented Parliament from meeting for a while. "Under President Yameen, everything has improved", said Latheef, who gave only one name.

What role has China played in the Maldives?

Despite assurances to the contrary, Beijing has steadily bolstered its presence on a collection of disputed reefs in the South China Sea, eventually building bases there.

"The citizens of the Maldives had their say". The Chinese initiative has been likened to the United States' ambitious Marshall Plan in Europe after World War II, but the Marshall Plan was mostly composed of grants rather than onerous loans, critics argue, and went toward economically viable projects.

He has also faced public outrage over the various statements he had made during his campaign, while Solih completed his campaign after clearly defining his pledges and not going on tirades during his speeches.

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