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Maldives President Yameen's party appears set for election victory

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen's party looks set to win control of the parliament, according to early projections. Support from a key ally appears to have helped the ruling coalition to victory.

Yameen's Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and its coalition allies were leading in 50 out of 85 constituencies, preliminary results in the Indian Ocean nation showed on Sunday.

The results from Saturday's vote showed the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) led by former President Mohamed Nasheed leading in just 24 seats.

Nasheed's former rival, Maldivian ex-president Maumoon Abdul, congratulated his half-brother Yameen (pictured above on voting day) on his party's "impressive victory."

There was no immediate comment from the MDP.

Officials have said final election results could be announced later on Sunday.

Smooth election

An estimated 240,000 voters were eligible to participate in Saturday's poll, which went ahead despite logistics concerns after the election commission's chief and deputy were fired two weeks ago by the Supreme Court. Turnout was projected to be around two thirds.

Sporadic election-related offences early in the voting had been reported, but none were serious, election monitors said. Independent watchdog Transparency Maldives said the election was conducted well.

A total of 302 candidates contested the 85 parliamentary seats in the Maldives.

dr/jm (AFP, dpa)

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