Yameen sworn in as new Maldives President, brother Gayoom in control

MaldivesYameen with Gayoom in Malé on Saturday. AP

In a clear indication of who is back at the helm in Maldives, former President of three decades Maumoon Abdul Gayoom dominated the press conference called here late Saturday night by the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) after its candidate, Abdulla Yameen, emerged victorious in the presidential run-off held earlier in the day.

Yameen, Gayoom's half-brother, was sworn in as the sixth president of the island nation on Sunday afternoon. Former President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), who lost the run-off by a slender margin in a shock defeat, and Gayoom attended the swearing-in ceremony.

According to the final figures released by the Election Commission early on Sunday, Yameen secured 111,203 votes (51.39 per cent), while the MDP got 105,181 votes (48.61 percent).

At the press conference at the PPM campaign headquarters on Saturday night, Gayoom, seated at the centre and clearly calling the shots, was flanked by Yameen and ally Gasim Ibrahim of the Jumhoree Party.

In his inaugural speech, Yameen spoke of promoting nationalism and bolstering the flagging economy. "My priority will be to improve the economy by taking steps to reduce government expenditure.

We will work to make Maldives a peaceful nation which achieves progress, and will work towards an inclusive economy," he said.

"I shall strive to make Maldives the safest and most developed nation in the region. We will maintain good relations with countries in the region," he said. Yameen assured that he would appoint capable officials who would be able to achieve the goals set. He said he would focus on the future of Maldivian youth, role of women in society, social security and drug addiction.

"The new government is obviously going to be controlled by Gayoom, as was apparent from the PPM press conference last night. We will engage with the new government just as we had been engaging with the MDP and the PPM prior to the elections. Both Yameen and Nasheed visited India before the polls. There will be no great problem in engaging with Yameen," said an Indian government official speaking on condition of anonymity.

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