Abdulla Yameen concedes defeat in Maldives presidential election

Voting underway in controversial Maldives presidential election

Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih declared victory early Monday in the Maldives' contentious presidential election, which was widely seen as a referendum on the island nation's young democracy.

Solih is a member of the Maldivian Democratic Party.

This unexpected victory has crushed Yameen as he was aiming to be the President of Maldives for the second term.

He registered the victory with the backing of a united opposition trying to oust Abdulla Yameen.

Voting underway in controversial Maldives presidential election
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"Candidate of the Maldivian Democratic Party".

The election commission's results show Mr Solih with 134,616 votes and Mr Yameen with 96,132 votes.

Speaking of change and stability and urging the Yameen administration to ensure a smooth transition of power, Soli said in Male, the Maldivian capital: "For many of us it has been a hard journey".

Before the polling stations opened, police raided the campaign headquarters of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and searched the building for several hours in an effort to stop what they called "illegal activities", AFP reported. There were no arrests.

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"We welcome the successful completion of the third Presidential election process in the Maldives which, according to preliminary information, Mr Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has won", said the statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) early Monday morning.

The European Union and USA have voiced concerns about the election and have threatened to impose targeted sanctions if the democratic situation does not improve.

The Maldives Election Commission had set up as many as 472 ballot boxes, including at four polling stations overseas in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.

The chief of the Maldives election commission said the final result would be declared within seven days, as mandated by law. The voter turnout was over 88 per cent out of the 262,000-strong electorate.

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More than 250,000 voters in the Maldives were eligible to vote in the election.

Independent global monitors were barred from the election and only a handful of foreign media were allowed in to cover the poll.

"He was never in a hurry", Mohamed Aflath, a businessman who voted for Solih in Sunday's election, said Monday.

Since coming to power in a contested election in 2013, Yameen has been criticised for jailing opponents and restricting election observers and the media, and there had been fears that Sunday's election would an unfair contest.

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The country has been in political turmoil since February, when Yameen imposed a state of emergency to annul a Supreme Court ruling that quashed the convictions of nine opposition leaders, including Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected leader and former president.

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