United Nation chief hails conclusion of Maldives presidential poll

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Moon appreciates result of Maldives poll
New York, Nov 18: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the conclusion of the Maldives presidential election run-off, hoping the new government will "engage the opposition in a constructive manner".

"Once again, the people of the Maldives have turned out to vote in impressive numbers, showing their determination to choose their next president, despite the many obstacles and delays," Xinhua quoted the secretary general as saying in a statement on Sunday.

"The close contest highlights the need for the new administration to engage the opposition in a constructive manner and to lead the country in the interest of all Maldivians," the statement said.

Abdulla Yameen was sworn in as the Maldives president on Sunday, a day after winning a closely contested presidential election, putting an end to nearly two years of political uncertainties that had posed threat to the Indian Ocean atoll nation's vital tourism sector.

Abdulla Yameen was sworn in as the Maldives president on Nov 18

Yameen narrowly defeated former president Mohamed Nasheed with 51.6 percent of the votes, bringing an end to a long drawn-out presidential battle spanning nearly three months.

During his campaign, the 54-year-old economist had pledged to pursue oil exploration and encourage foreign investment in extraction, noting that the rising price of the commodity made extraction more feasible.

"The secretary general notes the preliminary assessment by international and domestic observers that the election was administered in a transparent and professional manner and congratulates the tireless efforts of the Elections Commission," said the statement.

"The secretary general strongly urges all political leaders, state institutions and the Maldivian people to work urgently toward genuine reconciliation and to advance the country's democratic process through long-term institutional reforms, in particular strengthening the judiciary and accountability mechanisms, and promoting a national dialogue," it added.

Former president Nasheed gained 45.45 percent in the first round Sep 7. He was well ahead of his rival Yameen. But later the result was annulled amid allegations of electoral fraud.


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