07 Apr 2019
Exiled former Maldives President makes dramatic comeback with landslide win
Written byAakanksha Raghuvanshi
The exiled former leader of the Maldives has led his party to a landslide victory only five months after returning to the country, preliminary results showed on Sunday.
Ex-President Mohamed Nasheed, 51, was set for a dramatic return to the top of the national parliament, with his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) headed for a two-thirds majority in the 87-member Assembly.
Here are more details.
Nasheed was earlier barred from contesting
Saturday's poll was the first test of public opinion since autocratic former president and Nasheed's arch-rival Abdulla Yameen was forced to stand down after his five-year term, facing charges of money laundering and embezzlement.
Yameen had barred Nasheed from contesting.
Nasheed returned to the country after his former deputy President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won an unexpected victory in September presidential elections for the MDP.
Preliminary results showed MDP winning 50 out of 87 seats
Preliminary results from Saturday's election showed the MDP winning 50 out of the 87 seats, while private media reports projected the party eventually getting up to 68 seats.
Speaking to his supporters in Male on Saturday, Nasheed said, "The Maldives is about to welcome new dawn, golden yellow dawn."
His party is recognizable with its prominent yellow color.
Nasheed promised to turn country into parliamentary democracy
Election officials estimated the final turnout to be between 70 and 80%, down from the 89% recorded at the September presidential election which unexpectedly toppled Yameen.
Nasheed, now set to take over the leadership of the legislature, has promised to turn the country into a parliamentary democracy by scrapping the executive presidential system adopted under the political reforms in 2008.
MDP secured a huge majority in Majlis (Parliament): Solih
President Solih said in a statement that the MDP had "secured a huge majority in Majlis (Parliament)".
"While we celebrate, we must also not forget the immense challenges that lie ahead of us," he said.
Solih campaigned for the MDP asking voters to return a Parliament that could work with him to deliver on his election promises in September to investigate corruption under Yameen.
Yameen's Progressive Party projected to get only four seats
While Yameen was not a candidate, his Progressive Party of Maldives was seen as the main challenger to the MDP, but ended up with a poor showing, and is projected to get only four seats.
Nasheed was jailed for 13 years on a controversial terrorism charge when Yameen was in power. However, the conviction was overturned last year after the presidency changed.
No complaints of irregularities in run-up to vote: Election Commissioner
Speaking to reporters, Election Commissioner Ahmed Shareef said there had been no complaints of irregularities in the runup to the vote, during balloting, or at the count.
The Maldives was on the verge of being slapped with Western-led sanctions before Solih won the presidential election on a pledge to end corruption in the country best known for its luxury tourism.