Maldives opposition wins presidential race in contested election

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen accepted his defeat to opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in a presidential election.

According to the country’s Elections Commission, Solih won by a margin of 16.7 percent after the vote on Sunday.

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Police raided opposition headquarters on the day of the vote. Opponents had believed the election was rigged in favor of Yameen, who pushes for closer ties with China. Meanwhile, Solih favors India.

In the country which adopted democratic rule a decade ago, Yameen criticized his opponents for holding “Western standards” and for supporting gay rights.

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Solih founded the Maldivian Democratic Party in 2003 and has been a major proponent of democratic reforms. His election is being reported as a potential blow to China.

Removal of ‘un-Islamic’ statues

In a separate incident on Friday, police stormed a luxury hotel to destroy model human figures that were deemed un-Islamic.

President Yameen had ordered the removal of the nearly 30 statues from the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi in July after Muslim leaders warned against “the sin of worshipping idols”. The statues were removed from an art gallery in the hotel.

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