Turning the clock back: Frontline

“The political crisis in Maldives over the presidential run-off ends with the surprise victory of a close relative of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the shock defeat of Mohamed Nasheed,” writes R.K. Radhakrishnan for India’s Frontline  magazine.

“Change, sometimes, seems like a closed loop. The more things appear to change, the more they remain the same. This is so very true in respect of Maldives, an archipelago nation with a population of over 300,000 people, which is normally in the news for climate change issues and its idyllic upmarket beaches.

On November 16, Maldivians queued up to elect a new President in a run-off round. The results shocked international observers. Five years after the country held its first multiparty presidential election, Maldivians chose to turn the clock back. They brought back to power a close relative of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the country with an iron hand for about three decades.

Abdullah Yaameen Abdul Gayoom, the presidential candidate of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), a party Gayoom founded after he returned to Maldives a few years ago, was elected to the top post, with an astonishing 51.39 per cent of the vote polled (111,203 votes). He defeated the former President and Amnesty International’s Prisoner of Conscience, Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party. Nasheed got 48.61 per cent of the votes (105,181 votes). The polling percentage, at 91.41 per cent, was unbelievably high. A total of 218,621 of the 239,165 eligible voters exercised their franchise.”

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