K. Male'
04 Oct 2018 | Thu 10:35
President Abdulla Yameen
President Abdulla Yameen
Presidents Office
2018 Presidential Elections
Dear president, you accept the people's verdict...but?
Outgoing President Yameen has conceded defeat, but says he believes he would have received over 96,000 votes
233,877 of 262,135 of those eligible came out and voted
On September 23, Maldives elected Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as the country's next president

233,877 of 262,135 of those eligible came out and practiced their right to vote on September 23.

89.22 percent.

There were no incidents. The people were patient, calm and most importantly, determined.

Early morning on September 24, incumbent President Abdulla Yameen, after losing his bid for reelection, met with the newly president at the President’s Office. Soon after, he conceded defeat.

It has been nine days since then.

In that time, a sitting president, for the first time in Maldives’ history, was seen taking part in a protest. And not just any president, the same one that imposed various restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression… among other things.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has decided to ‘protest, until the Elections Commission addresses concerns over alleged vote rigging’.

However, the biggest irony is not that this is the same party that brought amendments to the freedom of assembly act, prohibiting gatherings anywhere, except the Carnival Area, without approval from authorities. Yet, PPM continues to protest infront of their office in the Henveiru ward of the capital city. And authorities are yet to clarify whether they had sought the required permission to do so.

It is also not that they are now accusing the Elections Commissioner, Ahmed Shareef, of electoral fraud. Despite the fact this is the same man appointed as the Elections Commissioner, around five months before Election Day. Prior to that, he was a senior official in Yameen’s rebid campaign. With only ruling coalition lawmakers present, Shareef was approved with 33 votes from the 85-member house.

President Abdulla Yameen and Elections Commissioner Ahmed Shareef at an event

The fact that they are protesting after conceding defeat and accepting the results, or rather despite accepting the result, is not it either. While it has been three days since PPM officially began protesting, on day one the president said that he does accept the results. Senior party members have expressed the same sentiment since.

Or what about the fact that they have since passed resolutions- among the few at these protests- that they do not accept Solih as the elected president? However, the president nor the party have officially made any such statements.

October 1, 2018: protest infront of PPM office in capital. Photo: RaajjeMV

Which brings us to this. The incumbent president received 96,052 votes. This is 15,151 votes less than the amount he got in the final round of the 2013 presidential election. But more than the 61,278 he got in the first round.

November 17, 2013: President Abdulla Yameen takes oath of office. Photo: President's Office

But that is not the issue, right?

According to Yameen, he just cannot accept the fact that he got about 96,000 votes. That, he says would be only be his ‘minimum’.

This is 9,129 votes less than the amount the candidate he won against received in 2013. So, could it be that Yameen can accept that he lost, but not that he got less votes than this particular individual?

September 2013: two candidates that competed in the final round of the 2013 presidential election. Photo: TVM

Whatever it is, ‘in a true democracy, the power lies with the people’; and this is what the Maldivian people showed on September 23. It’s time to listen to the people.

Last updated at: 2 years ago
Reviewed by: Shan Anees