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07.04.2019 Asia

Former Maldives President Nasheed Looks Set To Make Comeback

By RFI
Roberto SCHMIDT / AFP
APR 7, 2019 ASIA

Early results from Saturday's parliamentary elections in the Maldives in the Indian Ocean give former president Mohamed Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party a clear lead.

Preliminary results give the MDP a two-thirds majority in the 87-member assembly. Election officials estimated the final turnout to be between 70 and 80 percent.

The party of the former leader of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed is heading for a landslide victory in this weekend's elections, just five months since his return from exile.

The autocratic former president Abdulla Yameen's Progressive Party of Maldives may only win four seats.

Election commissioner Ahmed Shareef told reporters there had been no complaints of irregularities in the runup to the vote, during balloting or at the count.

Maldivians residing in nearby India and in Sri Lanka, as well as in the UK were eligible to vote.

Wave of popularity

Nasheed had received asylum in the UK after being sentenced to 13 years in jail in 2015 on charges of terrorism which Nasheed's supporters said were trumped up.

The conviction was overturned after Maldivians voted in Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Nasheed's former deputy, and voted out Yameen

He'd grabbed the attention of the world however in 2009 as the spokesman for the small-island countries at the COP 15 in Copenhagen, when he was head of state.

His feisty attitude forced all the bigger players to give greater importance to these particularly vulnerable countries during their negotiations.

Now Nasheed looks set to take over the leadership of the legislature. He has already promised to turn the country into a parliamentary democracy.

On an outgoing tide

Yameen faces charges of money laundering and embezzlement.

Nasheed's former deputy President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won the September presidential elections for the MDP. He stood in for Nasheed whom Yameen had barred from contesting.

The Maldives had been under threat of Western-led sanctions before Solih won the presidential election with a promise to stamp out corruption.

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