Opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has been voted as the next president of Maldives during the presidential election, which came out as a surprise defeat for the outgoing President Abdulla Yameen.

Following an electoral campaign in favour of strongman Maldives President Yameen, the presidential election results declared on Sunday came as a major surprise as the people elected Opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as their next president, voting out Yameen. Ibrahim, popularly known as Ibu received support from majority of people by securing 58.3 percent of the popular vote. With backing from other opposition coalition, Ibu touched the clear victory mark of 70% and emerged as the winner of election, who will serve as the President of Maldives – replacing President Yameen.

The victory of Ibu ends the years of presidency for Mr. Yameen – the half-brother of ex-President Abdulla Gayoom who ruled the country for 30 years. Experts believe that Yameen was inclined towards authoritarianism, especially after he declared emergency and jailed the Chief Justice when the Supreme Court ordered the release of nine dissident leaders. Although it was expected that Mr. Nasheed would run for the presidential elections, but he stepped aside since the Election Commission barred candidates convicted of criminal charges from contesting in elections.

The Opposition had united for the election and chose Ibu to run for presidency and defeat the rivals, which was not an easy task since arrests continued even 10 days ahead of the polls. However, the poll results showed that people of Maldives have favoured Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to be their next president; upon which, he said that “The will of the people has spoken” as his victory was imminent on Sunday night. This is a democratic backslide for Yameen, but he has promised a smooth presidential transition for the country.

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