Campaign begins for presidential run-off in Maldives

Campaigning started with new vigour in Maldives on Monday for the presidential run-off between Mohamed Nasheed and his nearest rival Abdulla Yameen, who formed an alliance with other parties to defeat the former president.

The run-off between top two candidates on September 28 became necessary as none of the candidates managed to secure crucial 50 per cent votes in the first round held on Saturday in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

While Maldivian Democratic Party leader Nasheed managed little over 45 per cent votes, Progressive Party of Maldives candidate and ex-president Abdul Gayoom’s brother Yameen secured just 25 per cent of over two lakh votes polled.

Incumbent Mohammed Waheed received just 5.13 per cent and business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim got 24.07 per cent.

Meanwhile, Mr Nasheed held a huge rally at an artificial beach here urging his voters to make his victory certain.

Addressing the rally, Mr Nasheed said, “The people of this country have once again very loudly said no to the rulers of the 30 long years. They said no just as loudly in 2008. But they perpetrated a coup d’etat and muddied up our country...

“The Maldivian people have very loudly said no to that vile and foul act has become clear to all.”

Stressing that people do not want Mr Yameen, Mr Nasheed said any coalition that the PPM makes with other parties would not represent an alliance of the people.

“The people are allied with the MDP. God willing, we will win this election for the people,” he told a gathering of about 5,000 people.

Mr Yameen plans to contest with combined force of — Mr Ibrahim and Mr Waheed — to defeat Nasheed, who was ousted last year under “not so normal” circumstances.