President Gayoom denied seventh term in Maldives election

October 29th, 2008 - 3:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Male/Colombo, Oct 29 (DPA) Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has been defeated in the presidential elections ending his record as one of Asia’s longest-serving leaders, officials in Male said Wednesday.In Tuesday’s run-off election, Gayoom, 71, was denied a seventh consecutive term and will be succeeded by Mohamed “Anni” Nasheed, a 41-year-old activist, who was once imprisoned by Gayoom’s government.

According to Election Commission officials in Male, of 174,250 votes counted, out of the 209,000 voters registered, Nasheed had received 94,054 votes (54 percent) against Gayoom who received 80,196 (46 percent).

In the first round of elections held Oct 8, Gayoom received 44 percent while Nasheed got 25 percent - both short of the necessary 50 percent, prompting the run-off poll held Tuesday.

Gayoom, who has ruled the Indian Ocean archipelago since 1978, has in recent years been under local and international pressure to introduce political reforms giving wider powers to parliament.

Nasheed, who represents the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), campaigned for democratic reforms.

Tourism is the main source of income for the Maldives, a popular tourist destination with its diving locations being among its main attractions.

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