ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Transition to Multiparty Democracy

There is widespread optimism as a pro-democracy activist is elected president in the Maldives.

After a prolonged 30-year rule by former president Abdul Gayoom, the Maldives elected prominent opposition leader Mohammad Nasheed (“Anni”) in the country’s first truly democratic presidential elections. Nasheed won the run-off presidential elections by capturing 54% of the votes.

Gayoom’s iron-fisted rule, marred by corruption, nepotism, cronyism, and stifling of any political dissent had remained unchallenged until these elections. Nasheed was at the receiving end of Gayoom’s actions against political dissidents in the country. An activist who had been sentenced to prison 23 times, was 18 months in solitary confinement and underwent torture in prison, Nasheed had founded his opposition party, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) overseas in Sri Lanka only in 2003. This was in the aftermath of a civil demonstration in the capital Male against Gayoom, which resulted in riots and unrest.

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