Maldivian Presidential election: everything you need to know

Maldivian Presidential election: everything you need to know

Written by Staff Writer

25 Sep, 2018 | 12:55 am

Colombo (News1st) –  Maldivian strongman President Abdulla Yameen conceded that he lost Sunday’s election to his opponent, President-Elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

According to the Maldivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

  • Vote count of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih: 134,616
  • Vote count of Abdulla Yameen: 96,132
  • Approx. population of Maldives: 440,000

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won by a 16% margin over President Yameen, with 92% of votes counted.

According to the Maldives Elections Commission, out of 262,135 eligible voters in this election, 233,877 voters cast their votes at the 472 ballot boxes placed in the Maldives and in four countries abroad including Sri Lanka and India. This is a voter turnout of 89.22 per cent.

Ibrahim Solih’s win at the Presidential Elections brings an end to the 05-year reign of President Ambulla Yameen.

Speaking to reporters following his win, Solih said he respects the decision taken by the people of Maldives to bring about a new change.

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Maldives President-Elect said: “This is a moment of happiness. For many of us this has been a different journey. A journey that has lead to a prison cell, over years in exile. It has been a journey that a complete politicization and breakdown of public institutions. But it has been a journey that has ended at the ballot box. The will of people has spoken. And it has spoken decisively for change.”

The new President-Elect thanked all the people who voted, members of the coalition “who united for change”, former President Mohamed Nasheed and former President Mohamed Abdul Gayoom for their perseverance, counselling and commitment to reform in the Maldives.

He also called upon President Yameen to respect the will of the people, and requested him to “immediately begin the smooth transition of power based on the constitution and law.”

Who is Ibrahim Mohamed Solih?

54-year-old Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was first elected to parliament in 1994, aged 30, as the MP from his home atoll of Faadhihpolhu. Solih is one of the closest friends of former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed and also played an instrumental role in establishing multi-party democracy in the Maldives.

He has been the Parliamentary Group Leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party since 2011.

The President and Vice-President, elected today, will be sworn in on 17 November 2018.

Maldivian politics

This was the third Presidential election held in the Maldives, following the adoption of the 2008 Constitution, which paved the way for multi-party democracy in the Maldives.

Voters sent out the incumbent president, Abdulla Yameen, in an extraordinary rebuke to a leader who jailed political opponents and judges and drew his country closer to China during a tumultuous five-year term.

In April 2018, former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed graced the Capital Maharaja Organisation’s Executive of the Year Award Ceremony as the Chief Guest. During the event, he called for the shortcomings in the Yameen administration to be averted and a new political and economic structure be adopted for the nation of Islands.

The foreign tug of war

Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. The Indian Ocean archipelago is best-known overseas for its clear waters and high-end resorts but its government stands accused of crushing dissent. Although the crisis may appear to be an internal power struggle in the South Asian island country, it has wider geopolitical ramifications and has spiraled into a power struggle between India and China.

The two main forces, namely China and India, created a cold war in the Indian Ocean, as China supported the incumbent President Abdulla Yameen while India supported Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during the elections.

This cold war was confirmed in Chinese media ‘South China Post’ and also by India’s Ministry of External Affairs which congratulated Solih on his victory, saying “India is looking forward to stronger ties with its neighbouring country”. It added that the election marks not only triumph of democratic forces in Maldives, but also reflects firm commitment to democracy and rule of law.

Meanwhile the United States congratulated the people of Maldives, who peacefully raised their democratic voices to determine the future of their country. The US urges calm and respect for the will of the people as the election process concludes.

Sri Lanka welcomed Ibrahim Mohamed Solih securing victory following the election in the Maldives where the people exercised their franchise in a decisive manner to uphold their commitment to democracy and the rule of law. Sri Lanka commended the government and the people of the Maldives for the conduct of a successful election process that was free, fair, and peaceful.

The statement goes on to say that Sri Lanka looks forward to working closely with him and the people of the Maldives in pursuing the elevation of relations between the Maldives and Sri Lanka to greater heights.

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