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Page added on November 17, 2013

Abdulla Yameen wins Maldives 2013 presidential election with 51.39 percent of the vote

Abdulla Yameen wins Maldives 2013 presidential election with 51.39 percent of the vote thumbnail

Additional reporting by Ahmed Naish and Zaheena Rasheed

Provisional results from the Elections Commission (EC) show Maldivians have voted to return to power the family of the Maldives’ former 30 year autocracy, giving a democratic mandate to Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Yameen.

Yameen, the brother of former autocratic President Maumoon Gayoom who ruled the Maldives for 30 years before being ousted in 2008 by Mohamed Nasheed in the country’s first multi-party elections, received 51.39 percent of the vote (111,203). Nasheed polled 48.61 percent (105,181) – a difference of just 6022 votes.

Total voter turnout was 91.41 percent (218,621), the highest since 2008, up five percent from 208,504 (86 percent) in the first round.

The election was hailed by Transparency Maldives as “credible, transparent and extremely well-administered, as were the two previous rounds.”

“While election day administration has been excellent, we believe that the real electoral issues are those of lack of political financing transparency, failure of the state to hold to account parties and individuals in violation of electoral offenses, the loopholes in the legal framework which paves way for abuse, all of which ultimately reduces trust and confidence in the electoral system,” Transparency stated.

Yameen’s election brings to an end a chapter of controversy and uncertainty over the government’s democratic legitimacy, following the ousting of Nasheed in February 2012 amid a police mutiny.

Speaking at a the PPM’s victory rally, President-elect Abdulla Yameen praised the coalition politicians as “exemplary leaders.”

Yameen said he “will never forget” that the majority voted for the PPM candidate based on the trust they had for coalition leaders.

“We worked together to save the Maldivian nation, to protect the sacred religion of Islam,” he said.

The PPM’s success was “a victory God granted for our religion and a great blessing for our beloved nation,” he added.

He also thanked his half brother, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, for his “hard work during our campaign,” which he said was “harder than the work he did in 2008.”

Yameen said he did not doubt that former President Mohamed Nasheed and the MDP would provide “cooperation in the Majlis” and work together with the new government.

The president-elect said it was “time for the political turmoil in the country to come to an end,” appealing for rival parties to “put aside political differences to work for the nation.”

Instead of “confronting political leaders, we will confront the big challenges facing our country,” he said. The government would be ready to sit down at the table with the MDP, he added.

“The most important thing we must do is thank Allah,” said Gayoom, speaking at the party’s victory celebration this evening. “He has given us victory. He has given his religion victory.”

Gayoom thanked the citizens of the Maldives, praised the smooth election, and congratulated Yameen and his running mate, Dr Mohamed Jameel.

He also thanked the political parties who worked with the PPM: “The biggest secret behind us winning this election is that Gasim Ibrahim joined us,” he said.

The key to Yameen’s victory indeed appears to have been the public endorsement of third-placed candidate, resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim, who initially remained neutral but later urged his 48,131 first round supporters to back the PPM – the vast majority of whom did as instructed.

In the first round Yameen polled 29.72 percent (61,278 votes), while Nasheed received 46.93 percent of votes (96,764). The run-off had been scheduled the following day for November 10, however Yameen declined to sign the voter lists and hours before the polls were due to open the Supreme Court ordered the poll delayed to the 16th.

In the intervening days, Yameen and former President Gayoom appealed to Gasim, promising him 33 percent of the government were he to endorse the PPM. On Wednesday the JP’s council voted with a comfortable majority to back the PPM.

The political rhetoric in the final week took a strong Islamic flavour, with Gasim and the PPM campaigning heavily against Nasheed’s religious credentials. Nasheed responded to the anti-campaigning: “I assure you, God willing, there will not be any room for another religion in this country as long as we draw breath,” he said, during the MDP’s final rally in Male on Friday night.

Yameen, who earlier in the day had complained about the integrity of the ballot papers’ security features, took and maintained a two percent lead throughout much of the counting, consistently gaining most of the JP’s support base at the majority of ballot boxes.

At a press conference held at Male City Hall Nasheed conceded defeat but noted the narrow margin.

“We have half the country behind us. And therefore I wouldn’t see many challenges for us to face the next local council elections and the parliamentary elections. So we should be doing that. One thing we should not contemplate would be to overthrow the government by street action or by direct action. We must adhere to democratic principles,” he stated.

“It is early for us to analyse the results and exactly pinpoint where we’ve lost but what is very clear is that we have lost by a very small margin. That is an indication of the outlook of the country. On the one hand, you have half the country who wants to progress in the light that we see the country and there is another half of the country who wants to remain as PPM sees the country. In my view, democracy is a process. And it is going to take time before we are able to proceed as a normal democratic country. Also in my view, it is our responsibility as an opposition party to make sure that democracy survives,” stated Nasheed.

Asked by reporters if he feared for his safety, he said: “I will go wherever I have to go.”

“We have repeatedly said, when you fall get up and run. When you lose, be courageous and in victory, be magnanimous,” he added.

Asked about his political future, the former President noted: “I am just 46.”

Troubled months of polls

Despite repeated delays, annulments and police obstruction of multiple polls – today’s vote was the sixth attempt organised by the Elections Commission in just two months – the MDP failed to build sufficiently on its apparent core support base of 95,000-100,000 people to defeat the combined last-minute Gasim-Yameen coalition.

The MDP obtained just under 100,000 votes in November 9 revote and the Supreme Court-annulled September 7 poll, falling short of the 50 percent needed to avert a run-off. The first annulled vote, which also saw Gasim placed third, was annulled after he complained of irregularities to the Supreme Court.

The run-off scheduled for September 28 was put on hold by an indefinite injunction from the Supreme Court, and ultimately annulled in a controversial 4:3 decision by the Supreme Court bench. The eventual revote on October 19 was obstructed by police, after Yameen and Gasim refused to sign the voter registry – one of the Supreme Court’s new requirements, effectively giving candidates power to veto polls.

The MDP’s “costed and budgeted” campaign focused on social welfare issues such as state-provided healthcare, housing, entertainment and youth, as well as economic diversity and increasing agriculture to reduce dependency on food imports.

Yameen campaigned heavily on a platform of law and order, calling for enhanced police powers, implementation of Sharia and the execution of the death penalty.

The party pledged harsher prison sentences for crimes such as ‘obstruction of police duty’, and promised short turnarounds on criminal investigations, the installation of mass surveillance mechanisms and state-of-the-art forensic facilities. The party also accused the MDP’s youth policy, dubbed ‘Entertainment without Fear’, of targeting the country’s drug addicts and prison population.

Yameen also pledged to pursue oil exploration and encourage foreign investment in its extraction.

The PPM further targeted young voters, promising both the creation of desirable jobs, and the transformation of Hulhumale into a “Youth City” with apartments for young people otherwise unable to start married life due to a lack of housing options in the congested capital city of Male. He pledged to build a bridge connecting the island to Male, and introduce 90,000 new jobs for young people across the Maldives by the end of his five year term.

Yameen also pledged to halve the presidential salary, increase civil servant salaries and slash the wages of political appointees by 30-50 percent should he be elected, as well as cut the salaries of independent institutions – which include the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) and the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) – a step he has described as pivotal for the country to avoid a sovereign default.

Yameen’s running mate and incoming Vice President is Dr Mohamed Jameel, former Justice Minister under Gayoom and Home Minister during Waheed’s tenure. The new President is expected to be sworn in by parliament tomorrow morning following the Election Commission’s announcement of the official results.

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33 Comments on "Abdulla Yameen wins Maldives 2013 presidential election with 51.39 percent of the vote"

  1. Dhivehi Hanguraama on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 1:32 AM 

    Alhamdulillaah. We have secured our Islamic future and entrenched our democracy.

    The MDP have been made irrelevant and now the true custodians of our nation’s future can go on with the task of creating a republic filled with pious men and virtuous women who know their place.

    Laadheenee protests and attacks on our judiciary are now a thing of the past.

  2. Democrat on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 1:47 AM 

    Nasheed lost because he was seen as anti-Maldivian, pro-Christian and anti-Islamic. All of Nasheed”s ‘advisers’ when he was President were white men from the UK who knew nothing about Maldivian sensibilities. Anni you should never, ever again have those jokers around you who were virtually running the government and over-riding your elected ministers.

  3. Hussain on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 1:50 AM 

    Remains to be seen. Good luck

  4. Boakibaa on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 1:57 AM 

    Okay, Yameen so you won, but I want my share of the boakibaa. Otherwise, I’m going to get very upset.

    In how many ways can Yameen split the boakibaa? Everyone wants a share of the pie. But the pie is empty. Waheed took all the money, haahaaaaaaaaa! He had the last laugh in this.

  5. Andrew Andreas on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 3:23 AM 

    Yameen, now is the time to show your true colors.

    The country is in deep factions. The economy needs a steroid boost, the social unrest and divisive contempt needs to repaired.

    I wm hopeful that you will get your priorities right.

  6. Mohamed Rasheed on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 6:22 AM 

    The margin of victory is extremely small! We need to see how things turn out in the remaining weeks!

  7. peasant on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 6:38 AM 

    Democracy lost in a democratic election. The key to winning is having the right skills for the game being played, or right credentials in this case. Maldivians’ voted, not based on social or economic policies (not to mention record) of the candidates, but on the issue of the bogeyman of “anti-islam”. The Maldivian elite have long tamed the peasants using this tactic. Many modern Maldivians know the story of the “dhebogeri” or the Two headed Cow, created by the Royals of the day to distract the islanders from social issues.

    If one would analyse the vote, all urban populations overwhelmingly voted Nasheed. The poor and rural islanders with presumably lower education levels voted Yameen. These far flung small island populations have always formed the core support base of those campaigning on non issues. Ironically it is the same people who would gain most under a Nasheed administration who voted against him. Yameen will pay lip service but it doesn’t look like the plight of these poor people will improve under his administration. Why would he dismantle his largest voter bloc?

  8. Damn on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 8:30 AM 

    @democrat, yep including the opportunistic foreign moral colonialists running minivan right now

    Hopefully next time Nasheed will wisen up and win, we cant have this foreign prying crap in our country

  9. Richard Banks on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 8:33 AM 

    How many years till the Maldives sinks ???

  10. bryam on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 8:58 AM 

    This is so sad. It’s as if sea-level rise finally sunk Maldives.

  11. Observer on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 9:50 AM 

    First of all – congratulations to Yameen. Second, congratulations to Nasheed for well organized campaign, but mostly for accepting the result and the pledge to be in sincere oposition.

    And to all Maldivians, to Maldives – congratulations for finally having your votes placed and your votes heard.

    Now the challenge begins…..now there is a country to lead, a country that needs stability and a country that needs to be brought forward.

    It is with optimism i read that Yameen encourages all to put political differences and ideologies aside and join together leading this country with leadership, responsibility and the common aim to serve this nation in the best interest for its people and their future.

    There are many challenges to face, there are popular and unpopular decisions to make.

    It is with optimism and best wishes I now say;
    Good luck onwards to government and opposition – it is now in your hands to make a difference in a civilized way
    :)

  12. oh no! on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 10:07 AM 

    tsk tsk tsk… someone already won but some of my countrymen can’t go over the fact yet. why don’t you all stop commenting here and go and help your country even in your own little ways? there are orphaned children, elderly who need care, etc… bet you are more interested in politics.

  13. Ibrahim A on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 11:11 AM 

    Let us not forgett that 38% of income in the Maldives comes from foreign tourists. Without them we would bet he poorest nation in South Asia. Ironic that Gayoom and Gasim builtt heir wealth on the back of foreignors and are now using them as targets in their efforts to regain power

  14. Rilwan on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 11:17 AM 

    Allah swa is he tgreat ! To those who use Minivannews to insult Islam if you have the slightest courage just show ur self. Ur guys ar bunch of losers ! Mummy is looking for u cause its past ur bedtime…

  15. Democrat on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 11:26 AM 

    Couldn’t agree more with you. You have to get rid of the ‘white-Maldivian power couple’ to start with and all the other hanger-on foreigners in Nasheed’s entourage. Maldivians are not stupid – Nasheed can’t become an Islamic crusader in one week (like he tried in the last one) – people know that his UK “regional embassy” was manned by a former Christian priest (well documented). People also remember in the Climate change ‘gold rush’ in the Maldives all the people advising Nasheed were questionable Brits who were all in for the money, and free trips to paradise Maldives (cant blame them with the crappy weather in the UK). Six senses boss Sonu also performed a crucial role in this plan. Nasheed should reflect, uproot these poisonous people and start afresh.

    “@democrat, yep including the opportunistic foreign moral colonialists running minivan right now”

  16. Ibrahim A on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 11:40 AM 

    Keep criticizing the foreignors andw atch what happens to the country when the 600,000 tourists who come every year decide to go to Seychelles instead! Maldives was the poorest country in South Asia before the tourist boom. It will be again if foreignors are attacked in such ridiculous ways. y political leaders.

  17. mvtest on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 11:41 AM 

    “Yameen and former President Gayoom appealed to Gasim, promising him 33 percent of the government were he to endorse the PPM.”. Where is the news where gasim said MDP offered 8 million + 35 % share of government. Be professional as you guys say you are the most reliable source of information :) .

  18. Hear Ye Its All So Supreme on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 11:48 AM 

    Dhivehi Hanguraama says “pious men and virtuous women who know their place.” How Supreme.

  19. Hero on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 11:51 AM 

    We have been telling that majority of Maldivian do not want Dictator Nasheed to come back ever.

    EU Common Wealth, India and GMR together with Nasheed could not win the hearts and minds of Maldivian.

    This is a real victory day and we have not lights of democracy .

    We are proud of our achievement and we are proud that this country was not been able to hijacked by dictator Nasheed.

  20. Ahmed on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 12:18 PM 

    UNLEASH HELL!!!!

  21. Willy Rasta on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 1:34 PM 

    As observer state, congratulations to Yameen. And congratulation Nasheed for accepting the result. And not to forget congratulation to election commission that really have been tested.I presume the quality of paper on ballot forms was acceptable

  22. Ann on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 1:55 PM 

    Minivan news has become a Anti-Maldives blog now! Spreading hatred towards the country and its people!

  23. Ann on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 1:59 PM 

    By the way where is the Canadian troll Mr. Baird?

  24. latif on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 2:14 PM 

    At least I don’t now have to decide as to whether to return to The Maldives. Any country that wants to bring back capital punishment isn’t really civilised, but there again, Islam isn’t a civilised religion, well, Yameen’s idea and the majority of Maldivians’ idea of Islam isn’t anything to do with acting in a civilised manner. Capital punishment indeed.

  25. Ann on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 6:36 PM 

    @ latif

    we do not have capital punishment in Maldives, and capital punishment never existed here even during the so called 30 years dictator rule.

    so do u mean that the US and Singapore are uncivilized?

  26. Tara Ali on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 6:37 PM 

    Nasheed has lost because of his arrogant, ignorant, schizoeffective, strange, awkward ways! we never know what stage he will be on tomorrow!
    His price for all the pot he has been taking for decades.

  27. ainth on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 7:37 PM 

    minivan news, post more anti-islam comments like those of latif and see how many more elections your MDP wins.

  28. satya on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 9:29 PM 

    dont call indian navy ships

  29. Democrat on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 9:35 PM 

    Minivan and the white/coconut entourage of Anni, still don’t get it. Let me summarise where you screwed up.

    1. Anni got carried away by all the attention of being a global eco-warrior. He spent more than 50% of his time away from Male in 2009-2012.

    2. Anni therefore neglected the local politics and got completely over-confident. In an act of arrogance, he arrested Chief Justice Abdulla. Until this point, the justice system was held in high regard in the Maldives, and no wonder the people took to the streets. Not a coup, simply a popular uprising (of course with Gayoom support). This is what happens when you don’t focus on what you were elected for – to run the Maldives.

    3. The activist in Anni never left him – he even organised a protest in Male when he was the President!

    4. The white/coconuts grew in power which brew resentment among Anni’s close political colleagues. Strategic mistake of appointing a former Christian priest as the Maldivian ‘Ambassador’ in the middle of nowhere in the UK, epitomised this ‘bubble thinking’.

    5. Anni smoking a joint or having a glass of alcohol (nothing wrong with that) was too well known in Male. Something, unfortunately, you have to give up if you are going to be President of a Islamic country.

    6. Anni overplayed the Indian angle – even hiding in the Indian embassy for a while. Yes – the GMR was a massive fiasco, courtesy of Waheed, but the current Indian government is spineless. Anni thought that India will coerce Waheed and others and India will ensure Anni’s election as President, but, that was wishful thinking.

    Maldives needs foreigners, but, only as tourists. We don’t need any Neo-colonial thinking of the sort that Minivan promotes. As Anni is a keen reader of this column, I hope he learns from the above. Ditch the white/coconut advisers – get some real, grounded educated Maldivians and rebuild. You will have your chance again.

  30. Logal Sumaari kaleyge on Sun, 17th Nov 2013 10:40 PM 

    The lesson has been driven home hard, the general population has extreme view points on certain subject matters and a general lack of competency is rife.

    Although different political ideology won to what most readers on this forum subscribe to, if Yameen does good by the country, the decision must be supported. I think it’s generally is not a conservative on religious matters.

    I think now that he has won we should give him a few more days to see what decisions he makes, and then reflect upon it.

  31. Willy Rasta on Mon, 18th Nov 2013 1:11 AM 

    Really hope the new elected President in the next five years can sort out the problems your country faces. From my view none of the four contestant relay stood out as a real statesman, I hope you have many possible new subjects for your next election in five years

  32. Observer on Mon, 18th Nov 2013 9:41 AM 

    So much hate towards the white….
    I do agree that foreign nationals should not lead the country and dictate a President or a Government.

    However – these are some facts:
    a) Maldives is a democracy in its making and in its transition, i will depend on foreign help and aid to ensure the establishment of democratic processes and systems. The only way to ensure the international community about the road map to a fully integrated democracy is to be transparent and willing to take advice.
    That does not mean that any other nation (or race) have ownership or right to dominate.

    b) This country does depend on the income from foreign nationals in the sense of tourism and preferably the big spenders. The biggest spenders does not come from China even though they are the dominant group.
    To ensure that this destination is as safe and as much of a paradise as possible ensuring the flow of foreigners and their capital spent, foreign advisers is needed to assure that Maldives IS still a place where “white” people can come and spend their money at “the sunny side of life”.

    There are alternatives to Maldives – Seychelles have been mentioned, Bali and other new destinations opening up in Asia.
    Once the tourists start looking elsewhere, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to reverse again – and that will have an enormous negative effect on Maldives, its economy and Maldivians in general.

    On the other side, this is a Islamic country and a proud Muslim people.
    To preserve the heritage, the values, the religion and history should be preserved.
    To fade this out and to “westernize” is a wrong move.
    It is more a matter of how both worlds can co exist where both are respected.

    Of course you can choose to lean on India or China too, but for now that should rather be for purposes of import/ export, infrastructure and technology or whatever they also represent that is also important to Maldives onwards.

    Bottom line – keep Maldives Maldivian, but ignoring advise from well established democracies or even creating hostile attitudes is a dangerous way to go.

  33. Moya Buruma Jaaasim on Mon, 18th Nov 2013 8:16 PM 

    Europen white go home.. You no need here. We all muslims. Oso so we only want islam tourisum. No poke and wine. This has country her self. We live happy with many wifes have each one Male. Happy live here with no white.


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