Victor in Male
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Delhi has stakes in stability in the Maldives. It must prepare to engage with its new government
The surprise result of the presidential run-off in the Maldives has put Abdulla Yameen in office, reversing the trend in the first round held on November 9, in which former president Mohamed Nasheed had secured 47 per cent of the vote, falling just short of the 50 per cent needed to avoid the run-off. Yameen, half-brother of former strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, campaigned on the religion and law-and-order planks, projecting himself as the "defender of Islam", and securing the support of like-minded parties in the run-off. Nasheed's defeat and Yameen's victory could effectively mean the return of the old order in Male.
Yet, Maldives has held a generally free and fair election — as Indian observers have acknowledged — and democracy has returned to the country. This is significant, given the Mohammed Waheed regime's attempts to prevent Nasheed's return to power after ousting him from office last year. The election held on September 7 was annulled and the re-run scheduled for October 19 could only be held on November 9. Then, the run-off the next day was cancelled. Nasheed himself has been gracious in defeat and pledged to strengthen democracy in the Maldives.