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Maldives on edge after bitterly fought presidential main | Elections Information | NEWSRUX

The Maldives’ President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has been declared the winner of a contentious presidential main, however his rival has but to concede the election amid allegations of voter fraud, heightening political uncertainty within the widespread Indian Ocean vacationer vacation spot.

The governing Maldivian Democratic Get together (MDP) stated on Sunday that Solih gained 61 p.c of the vote whereas his opponent Mohamed Nasheed garnered 38 p.c. The election – held on Saturday – was tense with not less than 5 individuals arrested for disrupting voting and brawls breaking out between rival factions at a number of polling stations.

The end result was a blow for Nasheed, who served as president from 2008 to 2012 and was the Maldives’ first democratically elected chief. Nasheed had been hoping for a comeback after a “terrorism” conviction that was broadly seen as politically motivated prevented him from working within the final presidential election.

Solih, who contested the 2018 vote in Nasheed’s stead, appealed for unity after Saturday’s main.

Chatting with a crowd of cheering supporters within the Maldivian capital, Male, the incumbent chief urged his opponent to set variations apart.

“The first is over. Now’s the time to unite and work collectively to win the presidential election for the MDP,” he stated.

However Nasheed’s marketing campaign stated it was “nonetheless analyzing the outcomes”.

In a brief assertion issued late on Saturday, the marketing campaign advised fraud, saying: “We’re noticing that Nasheed is forward in many of the poll packing containers, and his opponent is forward due to a number of packing containers the place a unprecedented quantity of votes have been solid.” Hours earlier, Nasheed’s spokesperson, Hassan Latheef, had claimed their exit polls have been exhibiting that the previous president would win 64 p.c of the vote.

“Nasheed has gained this election,” he wrote on Twitter.

Maldives's former President Mohamed Nasheed
The Maldives’ former President Mohamed Nasheed at a main marketing campaign rally in Male on January 26, 2023 [File: Fayaz Moosa/ Mihaaru via Al Jazeera]

Fraud claims

The dispute has prompted worries a few cut up of the MDP, a celebration that Nasheed co-founded and that has led a decades-long marketing campaign for democracy within the Maldives. It has additionally raised considerations of recent turmoil within the island nation of 500,000 individuals, 4 years after Maldivians voted out former President Abdulla Yameen, who had overseen a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent, together with by jailing or forcing into exile almost all of his political opponents.

Nasheed and Solih, childhood associates who stood collectively towards Yameen, fell out throughout the marketing campaign to topple the autocratic chief.

Their rivalry started in 2018, when the MDP’s high decision-making physique voted to switch the celebration’s presidential ticket from Nasheed to Solih. On the time, Nasheed – whose first stint in energy had been minimize quick by a army mutiny and who had been sentenced to 13 years in jail on a trumped-up cost of “terrorism” – was residing in exile.

He reluctantly acquiesced to Solih’s candidacy, and the veteran politician went on to defeat Yameen by a landslide.

Nasheed returned residence to a hero’s welcome and gained election as parliament speaker.

However he quickly parted methods with the president, accusing him of inaction on corruption and violent teams affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS).

Solih refutes this and claims he has introduced “peace and stability” and “unparalleled improvement” to the Maldives after many years of turmoil.

Forward of Saturday’s vote, Nasheed’s marketing campaign had warned supporters to be vigilant of makes an attempt to rig the ballot.

And on the day itself, Nasheed’s supporters disrupted voting at a number of polling stations, accusing Solih’s supporters of stuffing poll packing containers. The allegations resulted in fistfights at some 4 polling stations, with individuals on the island of Gadhdhoo in southern Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll damaging the poll field and tearing up some ballots. The brawl prompted voting to be suspended briefly.

The MDP election committee, nevertheless, insists the vote proceeded easily.

Ibrahim Waheed, the chair of the committee, referred to as the election “very profitable” and stated disruptions occurred at solely a handful of the 245 polling stations. The committee had acquired 50 complaints in regards to the vote, he informed reporters on Sunday, assuring that there had been no situations of “double voting”.

He added that 70 p.c of some 57,225 eligible voters had turned out to solid their ballots.

‘Nice uncertainty’

Nasheed’s supporters have rejected the assurances.

“This main was stolen. The assist for [Nasheed] is obvious right here,” wrote Twitter consumer @Mujookeynee, posting an image of one of many former president’s well-attended marketing campaign rallies in Male.

“Election was rigged… #Anni2023 continues to be on,” wrote Twitter consumer @HKurusee, referring to Nasheed by his nickname.

Solih’s supporters in the meantime stated the president had gained honest and sq., on the again of a file of delivering on infrastructure initiatives, together with water and sanitation within the Maldives’ dispersed islands. In addition they pointed to his profitable steering of the Maldives by means of the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to the introduction of widespread insurance policies equivalent to free college schooling.

Moosa Latheef, editor on the Dhauru information web site, stated it was unlikely that Nasheed might have gained Saturday’s vote, given the large margin.

“Nasheed’s refusal to concede to this point doesn’t bode nicely for our nascent democracy,” he stated.

“We’re heading right into a interval of nice uncertainty,” he stated. “It’s very exhausting to foretell what Nasheed would possibly do.”

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