Male, Maldives: Opposition candidate (Joint), Ibrahim Mohammed ‘Ibu’ Solih of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MPD) was elected as the nation’s third, democratically-elected President. Ibu defeated the controversial Abdulla Yameen, polling a steady 58:42 percent vote-share, almost from the start and mostly across the country
With tentative official results yet to be announced, and final results expected anytime within the mandated seven days, the Haveeru Online maintain a minute-by-minute poll webpage, put the figures at 58.3 percent for Ibu as against 41.7 percent for Yameen. As expected, urban ‘population centres’ like capital Male (42,000 voters) and southern Addu City (21,000 voters) gave the ‘liberal, democratic’ candidate in Ibu higher 68-32 leads in an election in which 88.8 percent of the nation’s 262,135 voters cast their lot on 23 September. With this, Ibu became the highest vote-getter in the history of Maldives’ multi-party poll-scene, while Yameen became the worst loser, with the lowest vote-share in the decisive round.
The election comission introduced computer-tablets for voter-verification in booths which were reportedly affected by poor internet signals, leading to long queues, authorities readily extended polling time by a flat two hours, to end at 7 pm.
This election will also be marked for the direct, single-round contest as against the earlier ones in 2008 and 2013. With none of the multiple candidates being able to cross the mandated 50-percent vote-mark in the first round in those two elections, the top-two moved into a second, run-off round. The consequent trade-offs meant not only an acceptable result, but also unacceptable compromises and commitments, which the victor, in his wisdom, refused to meet in the end.
Earlier this year, Abdulla Yameen had lifted a 45-day-long state of emergency which had outlawed protests during a surge in political turmoil, saying he wanted things to return to normal.
Yameen initially imposed the restrictions on February 5, after a Supreme Court ruling quashed convictions against nine opposition leaders.
During the restrictions, Yameen’s administration arrested former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the chief justice, another Supreme Court judge and a Supreme Court administrator on charges of trying to overthrow the government.
Mohamed Nasheed, Maldives’ first democratically elected president, praised Solih, who belongs to his political party. “You have done an extremely good service to not only to the people of Maldives, but also to freedom loving people everywhere,” the exiled leader said in a tweet.
Congratulations to President Elect @ibusolih. You have done an extremely good service to not only to the people of Maldives, but also to freedom loving people everywhere. Democracy is a historical inevitability.
— Mohamed Nasheed (@MohamedNasheed) September 23, 2018
The Maldives transitioned to democracy in 2008, following three decades of authoritarian rule. In recent years, it has seen a lot of political turmoil.
Solih will reportedly be sworn in on Nov. 17, beginning a five-year term.
(source: via https://www.npr.org/2018/09/24/651157476/surprise-victory-of-opposition-in-maldives-elections-a-referendum-on-democracy)
By Manasi Chandu