India welcomes Maldives election outcome, calls it victory of democracy

With Abdulla Yameen, the pro-China President of the Maldives, suffering a humiliating defeat, India on Monday promptly congratulated opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on his victory in the presidential election in the archipelago and said the results reflected the country’s commitment to the values of democracy and the rule of law.
New Delhi also hoped the Maldivian Election Commission would officially confirm the result at the earliest. The final results in the election would be announced on 30 September.
“We welcome the successful completion of the third presidential election process in the Maldives which, according to preliminary information, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has won,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
“We heartily congratulate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on his victory and hope that the Election Commission will officially confirm the result at the earliest,” it said.
Reports from Male said Solih won the election, defeating Yameen, who had become a major source of irritation for India because of relentlessly pursuing Beijing’s agenda in the island nation. He borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from China for controversial infrastructure projects in his country, much to the discomfiture of India. Yameen often faced strident criticism, especially from India, for jailing his opponents.
“This election marks not only the triumph of democratic forces in the Maldives, but also reflects the firm commitment to the values of democracy and the rule of law,” New Delhi said.
India’s ties with the Maldives came under strain after President Yameen declared Emergency on 5 February, following an order by the country’s Supreme Court to release a group of Opposition leaders, who had been convicted in widely criticised trials.
India had criticised the Yameen government for the imposition of the Emergency and urged it to restore the credibility of the electoral and political process by releasing political prisoners. The Emergency was lifted 45 days later.
In July, India expressed concern over announcement of the presidential election without allowing democratic institutions, including Parliament and the judiciary, to work in a free and transparent manner.

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