Maldives Military Backs 'will of the People' After Election

Voters react as the results of Sunday's election became clear

Voters react as the results of Sunday's election became clear

In Maldives, military and police chiefs have asserted that security forces would protect the will of the people amidst speculation that outgoing President Abdulla Yameen would try to hold on to power.

This was Yameen's second attempt to control power after he was elected first in 2013 amid opposition accusations of widespread rights abuses.

The election outcome surprised many given opposition warnings that the voting could be rigged. Yameen, who will be president until November 17 according to the constitution, has jailed political opponents and cracked down on dissent. Election commission chief Ahmed Shareef confirmed that Yameen's party lodged several complaints of vote irregularities.

However, Shareef assured that the commission would not delay the announcement of the official results beyond the legally mandated seven day period, local media reported. "The Commission has not been briefed on the nature of the complaints yet but there are allegations of fraud from what I understand", he said. However, Shihab did not comment on whether Yameen's stance has changed since then.

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In response, the military and police forces said in near-identical statements they would uphold the result.

The high voter turnout of almost 90 per cent is a clear affirmation of the Maldivian people's commitment to a democratic electoral process and rule of law enshrined in the 2008 Constitution of the Maldives.

The Maldives is best known as a luxury holiday destination and is key to a battle for influence between India and China.

India's ties with the Maldives came under strain after President Yameen declared Emergency in the country on 5 February, following an order by the country's Supreme Court to release a group of Opposition leaders, including his estranged half brother and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who had been convicted in widely criticised trials.

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