Ousted president faces runoff election

2013-09-08 11:41

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Male - The first democratically elected president of the Maldives, who was ousted from power last year, faces a runoff after falling short of a clear majority in the first round of Indian Ocean archipelago's presidential election.

Mohamed Nasheed, who received 45% of the vote in Saturday's election contested by four candidates, could still face an uphill task in securing a simple majority because of a possible alliance among his three opponents in the second round of voting.

He faces a 28 September runoff against Yaamin Abdul Qayyoom, a brother of Maldives' former autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who received 25%, according to results released by the Elections Commission on Sunday.

Nasheed needed to receive more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff. Businessman Qasim Ibrahim was a close third with 24%, while incumbent President Mohamed Waheed Hassan ended with 5%.

Nasheed, who won the country's first multiparty election in 2008, ending 30 years of autocracy, resigned last year after weeks of public protests and slipping support from the military and police. He later said he was forced to resign at gunpoint by mutinying security forces and politicians backed by the country's former autocrat.

Though a domestic commission of inquiry dismissed Nasheed's claim, the country known for its luxurious beach resorts, has been in political turmoil ever since. Nasheed has repeatedly dismissed as illegal the government of his former vice president - current President Hassan.

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