Former President Mohammed Nasheed on Sunday emerged as a clear winner in the first round of presidential polls in Maldives but fell short of a majority and will face a tricky run-off on September 28,prolonging the political uncertainty in the country.
The Election Commission here announced results early this morning after night-long counting,declaring Nasheed,the first democratically elected president of Maldives,a clear winner in the first round of polls with 95,224 votes.
Nasheed,46,was followed by the brother of former President Abdul Gayoom,Abdullah Yameen,who received 25.35 per cent votes (53,099),Gasim Ibrahim got 24.07 per cent (50,422) votes and the present incumbent Waheed Hassan received 5.13 per cent (10,750) votes. Over 88 per cent votes were cast during the elections.
“These are preliminary results. We will be getting ballot papers from various islands in two days and if required corrections would be made by September 14 after which final results will be announced. But these corrections are not likely to have major impact on the results,” President Election Commission Fuwad Taufeek said.
Under the country’s election laws,if none of the candidates get more than 50 per cent of the vote,a run-off will take place between the top two candidates.
If final results do not bring much change,Nasheed will be facing a September 28 run-off against Abdullah Yameen.
Nasheed who was ousted last year under “not so normal” circumstances had said during his campaign that all the actors who were part of his ouster will be brought to book.
Nasheed could still face an uphill task in securing a simple majority because of a possible alliance among his three opponents in the second round of polling.
India has been engaging with both the candidates,Nasheed and Yameen,who are most likely to contest the second round,much before the elections.
Both the leaders recently visited New Delhi and met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assuring full support,sources here said. Gayoom,Former President and brother of Yameen,had also visited New Delhi in June.
India,which shares close ties with the archipelago nation,is of the view that multi-party democracy is at a very nascent stage and should be given time to deepen its roots here,the sources said.
On the alleged irregularities at some counting stations,the Election Commissioner said they have received complaints but it has not taken any decision on recount of any ballot.
Taufeek said if any party approaches court and gets a decision,they would be open for a recount in front of representatives of all the parties.
First multi-party free elections were held in Maldives in 2008 after three-decades of Gayoom’s rule in which Nasheed won.
He had to resign after four years when security forces joined protests led by the opposition parties over the arrest of a judge. Nasheed’s ouster resulted in the elevation of then Vice-President Waheed as his successor.
Over 2229 local observers,102 international obervers,1343 representatives of political parties besides 1642 local and 225 international journalists are keeping a hawk’s eye on the developments in this young multi-party democracy.