Brother of Ex-Strongman Elected Maldives President
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Voters in the Maldives chose the brother of the archipelago nation's former strongman to be their new president over the country's first democratically elected leader in a closely fought runoff election on Saturday.
Yaamin Abdul Gayoom had 51.39 percent of the total vote, according to results provided by the official Elections Commission. Gayoom is the brother of former autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled this Indian Ocean nation for 30 years.
Mohamed Nasheed, who was elected president in the first multiparty election in 2008 but resigned last year amid protests, received 48.61 percent of the vote.
Nasheed led with 47 percent in last week's first round to Gayoom's 30 percent. The runoff was required because no candidate got 50 percent.
Gayoom improved on his performance by courting supporters of tourist resort owner Qasim Ibrahim who finished third with 23 percent of the vote last week. Ibrahim drew his support from conservative Muslims who accused Nasheed of undermining Islam because of his friendly relations with Israel and Western nations.
Nasheed was the clear pre-election favorite but lost his momentum amid long delays to complete the election.
After his victory became apparent, Gayoom told reporters that Maldivians have decided what's best for them and asked the international community to respect their choice.