Maldives election: the will of the people has spoken, says Ibrahim Mohamed Solih

Maldivian joint Opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih speaks to the media at the end of the presidential election day in Male, Maldives on September 23, 2018.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

“The will of the people has spoken,” said Maldivian Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, after his victory became evident late on Sunday, and called upon incumbent President Abdulla Yameen to ensure smooth transition of power.

“For many of us it has been a difficult journey. A journey that led to a prison cell, or years in exile. It’s been a journey that led to the complete politicisation and breakdown of public institutions. But it’s been a journey that has ended in the ballot box, because the people willed it,” Mr. Solih, 54, said in Male.


Following ex-President Mohamed Nasheed’s decision in June to exit the presidential race, the joint Opposition led by his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) decided to field a common candidate. The unlikely coalition — of the MDP with the Jumhooree Party, the Adalat party, and a faction of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) — chose Mr. Solih to fight a political rival they all shared.

Though well known for his reform efforts, Mr. Solih, for most of his political career as a lawmaker since 1994, maintained a low profile until he began campaigning in the run-up to the Sunday’s polls.

“The message is loud and clear,” he said on Sunday. “The people of the Maldives want change, justice and stability.”

A 12-hour polling day

On Sunday, as many as 2,62,135 voters had a chance to choose between Mr. Yameen and Mr. Solih in a poll that came with the promise of change.

Maldivian authorities allowed only select international observers and media to visit Male on the poll day, denying visas to others that the Elections Commission had earlier accredited. However, terming the poll “the most perfect election” in the Maldives, Commissioner and spokesperson at the Maldives Elections Commission Ahmed Akram said that the voter turnout was likely to be 85% or more, hours before the total votes polled was declared.

The election came under close international scrutiny, which the government resisted, but for many voters, it also brought with it a promise of brighter days.

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Printable version | Oct 13, 2021 2:17:36 AM |

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