Abdulla Yameen
Abdulla Yameen

Maldives elections: Yameen's dream of second term nearing end?

ANI | Updated: Sep 24, 2018 07:22 IST

Male [Maldives], Sep 24 (ANI): As Opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is inching closer to victory in the presidential polls, incumbent President Abdulla Yameen's dream of a second term is likely to come to an end.
Yameen, who will probably have to demit the office of the President, came to power in 2013 after defeating Nasheed in what was called a controversial round of polling. The latter, who resigned in 2012 following a political crisis in the island nation, was sentenced to 13 years of prison on account of terrorism charges in 2015.
Progressive Party of the Maldives official, Ahmed Nihan, said that even though it is too early to declare the winner, the party has the courage to accept the choice of the citizens of the country, Al Jazeera reported.
Earlier, Solih, while addressing media in the Maldives, declared his victory in the polls and called on Yameen to respect the will of people and immediately begin a smooth transition of power.
The growing incumbency in the country was a result of Yameen's harsh policies, such as the crackdown on media organisations in the last few months, imposing a draconian anti-defamation law and allowing only a handful of them to cover the elections.
In the run-up to the elections, international monitors had repeatedly urged the Maldivian government to ensure free and fair polls. But, experts and observers already predicted that Yameen was unlikely to pay heed to such demands.
The incumbent President had also put his half-brother and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the chief justice and a judge of the Maldivian top court behind bars. Many international groups and countries, including India, had voiced their concerns over the arrests and called for their release and smooth running of state institutions.
Yameen's defeat was evident in the growing resistance towards him within the people of the island country. Protests against Yameen had intensified in capital Male and other cities, as the joint opposition continued to maintain pressure on the government to implement the Supreme Court ruling of February 1 demanding the release of high-profile prisoners including former president Mohamed Nasheed and former vice president Ahmed Adeeb.
The situation worsened after February 20, when the Maldives Parliament approved the extension of the state of emergency by 30 days, a day after Yameen sought the extension citing threat to national security and the constitutional crisis in the country.
The opposition leaders had boycotted the session and called the extension illegal and unconstitutional.
Around 263,000 Maldivian voters exercised their rights in the high-stakes elections on Sunday, keenly watched by countries such as India, the United States, and China.
Unlike the previous elections, only two candidates were running for the post of the President this time around.
Apart from the Maldives, voters were entitled to exercise their franchise in India, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, and Malaysia, with as many as 472 ballot boxes being placed across the five countries. (ANI)