Nasheed vindicated but faces tricky run-off: Times of India

Nasheed accused Gayoom of engineering the coup with help of mutinous police and military officers. He had accused tourism tycoons like Ibrahim, angry over his policies like increase of taxes, for bankrolling it, writes Sameer Arshad for the Times of India.

The international community recognised his removal as legitimate power transfer in the Maldives, where stability is crucial for India’s interests as it overlaps the Indian Ocean’s major sea lanes through which 97 percent Indian trade by volume and 75 percent by value pass.

But the first round results have made it clear the Maldivians did not agree. They have voted against the removal of the country’s first democratically-elected president, who earned Amnesty International’s Prisoner of Conscience title for his campaign against Gayoom’s rule.

The Maldivians were fed up with the instability, which followed his ouster and adversely impacted the mainstay of the country’s economy – tourism.

The anxieties over the country’s dented image as a high-end holiday paradise were reflected in Nasheed’s performance on resort islands. Workers chose to vote for him even on the islands that his opponents own.

Nasheed’s proactive approach towards issues like climate change, which poses existential threat to countries like Maldives, along with his social programmes, had earned him a lot of popularity.

These factors contributed to his emphatic comeback despite his arrest twice and questions over his candidacy.

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