Former Maldives president makes comeback with landslide win

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih1
Ibrahim Mohamed Solih1

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Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s party declared a landslide victory on Sunday in parliamentary election that could give him a free hand in efforts to restore political freedoms and tackle corruption.

Local media reports said Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party would win at least 60 out of the 87 seats in parliament, more than the majority 44 needed for him to pass legislation for pledges from last year’s presidential campaign. Some projected Solih’s party winning 68 seats.

Solih said the people should not forget “the immense challenges that lie ahead of us” as his party began celebrating after the counting started on Saturday night.

“The work to strengthen our democratic institutions, to deliver basic services for citizens, to our promise of bringing corruption, past and present to book and ending impunity starts now,” he said in a statement on Sunday. “I look forward to working with all of you to realise our promises to the people

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih

Solih defeated former leader Abdulla Yameen in September. Yameen had curtailed freedom of speech and jailed political rivals.
Solih was only a fallback choice as president for his party because former president Mohamed Nasheed had been sentenced to prison under Yameen and was ineligible to run.
On Sunday, Nasheed promised to use his party’s mandate to usher in a new era of stability and democracy.
“Our foremost duty is to bring peace to the government”, Nasheed told supporters in Male.

Yameen did not run, but his party – the Progressive Party of Maldives – was projected to only secure four seats in the People’s Majlis, or parliament.
Nasheed declared the days of “Rolex watches and Koh-i-noor are over”, referring to claims Maldives MPs have been bought with luxury gifts.

Opposition politicians came together in a grand alliance to defeat Yameen last September. But the coalition cracked and Solih failed to secure parliamentary approval for promised inquiries into corruption, the disappearance of a journalist and the killing of a blogger during Yameen’s rule.
Nasheed and Solih now promised reforms, an end to political influence over the courts, police and the bureaucracy, and the recovery of money lost through corruption.

The thumping MDP victory caps a remarkable comeback for Nasheed, who until November was a fugitive in exile.
He was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2015 but left the Maldives a year later, after being granted prison leave for medical treatment in the UK.

The charges were dropped by the Supreme Court after Solih toppled Yameen, with judges saying there was no basis for the charges.
Nasheed opposed heavy borrowing from China under Yameen’s administration, accusing the former strongman of mortgaging the island paradise to Beijing for infrastructure projects

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Source: IOL

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