Male, Sep 24 (IANS) The Election Commission of Maldives on Monday declared opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldivian Democratic Party as the winner of the presidential election in the country that has been gripped by political upheaval.
The Commission spokesman Ahmed Akram said that Solih obtained 134,616 or 58.3 per cent of the votes polled, as per the provisional data of the election commission, reports Efe news.
Solih’s supporters took to the streets of capital Male in celebrations after he claimed victory over incumbent President Abdulla Yameen in the controversial election that took place on Sunday.
He called on Yameen to “accept the will of the people”, the BBC reported.
“The message is loud and clear. The people of Maldives want change, peace and justice,” Solih, told the media here before the Election Commission’s announcement.
Yameen, who had been widely expected to win another term in office, has not yet commented publicly.
His government stands accused of crushing dissent and observers had believed the election was rigged in his favour.
India, which is concerned with the political instability in the Maldives, welcomed the result.
“We welcome the successful completion of the third presidential election process in the Maldives which, according to preliminary information, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has won,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
The island country, home to around 22,000 Indians, is of strategic importance to New Delhi and its growing proximity with China is a cause of concern.
Exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed said on Twitter that olih had done “an extremely good service” to the people of Maldives.
The European Union and US had earlier voiced concerns about the election, with both threatening to impose targeted sanctions if the democratic situation did not improve.
The upheaval in the archipelago worsened after the Supreme Court in February quashed the convictions of nine opposition figures, among them Nasheed, who was ousted from office in 2012.
But after President Yameen declared a state of emergency and ordered the arrest of two judges, the court reversed its decision.