Abdulla Yameen sworn in as Maldives president following runoff vote victory | News | DW | 17.11.2013
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Abdulla Yameen sworn in as Maldives president following runoff vote victory

Following his victory in a runoff vote, Abdulla Yameen has been sworn in as the new president of the Maldives. The ceremony has brought an end a period of uncertainty over the leadership of the island nation.

Abdulla Yameen and his deputy, Mohamed Jameel, were sworn in Sunday by the country's chief justice.

The 54-year-old politician was given a 21-gun salute and in his first address to the nation he promised to work with neighbors and the international community.

Representing the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Yameen secured victory during Saturday's runoff poll with 51.4 percent of the vote, narrowly edging former president Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

Voter turnout for the runoff was 91.4 percent of the 239,165 Maldives citizens eligible.

Nasheed conceded hours after reports of his defeat began to surface, and told his supporters that the result would not be contested: "This is a happy day for Maldives. We've always been calling for an elected government. That call ... has been answered. We won't look to challenge this in court."

Mohamed Waheed's term as president officially ended on November 11, but three prior attempts to elect a new leader - the first in September - had failed to reach a conclusion, so he stayed on to ostensibly to fill the constitutional void.

International scrutiny had turned on Maldives as a failure to find a democratic resolution to the country's standoff continued.

One poll attempt had been declared void and the following two elections canceled by the Supreme Court. The country's Supreme Court consists of several judges appointed during the autocratic 30-year rule of former rule Maumoon Abdul Gayoom - Yameen's half-brother.

Nasheed, a former human rights campaigner, was attempting to regain the presidency he won in 2008 before his resignation in February 2012. Nasheed still maintains he was forced to resign at gunpoint, while Waheed claims the transfer of power was voluntary and constitutional.

Both Nasheed and Waheed attended the swearing-in ceremony.

hc/xx (AP, AFP)