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Maldives elections: Pro China Yameen ousted

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Maldives, Sep 24: Ibrahim Mohammad Solih has declared victory in the Maldives presidential elections. The victory comes in the wake of allegations that the elections would be rigged in favour of President Abdulla Yameen.

Ibrahim Mohammad Solih

"I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power," Solih said on television, shortly after interim results from the country's election commission gave him an unassailable 58 per cent of the popular vote.

He further urged the incumbent to immediately release scores of political prisoners. Yameen who was tipped to retain power had jailed or forced into exile almost all of his main rivals.

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Mohammad Nasheed, the head of Solih's Maldivian Democratic Party said that the vote would bring the country back to the democratic path. He also said that Yameen would have no option but to concede defeat. He will not have people around him who will support him to fight on and stay, Nasheed told AFP.

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Solih had the backing of a united opposition which has been fighting to oust Yameen. He however struggled for visibility with the local media fearful of reporting restrictions.

The poll was closely watched by both India and China, who are jostling to influence the Indian Ocean nations. Both the US and UN had threatened sanctions if the poll was an unfair one.

Before the election, there were warnings that Yameen could try to hold on to power at all costs. In February, he declared a state of emergency, suspended the constitution and ordered troops to storm the Supreme Court and arrest judges and other rivals to stave off impeachment.

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Yameen told supporters on the eve of the election he had overcome "huge obstacles" since controversially winning power in a contested run-off in 2013, but had handled the challenges "with resilience".

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