Maldives Split Poll Leaves Nasheed in Runoff, PTI Says

Former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed, who was ousted from office last year in what he called a coup, will face a presidential runoff after failing to win an outright majority in the polls, the Press Trust of India said.

Nasheed received 45.5 percent of the votes in yesterday’s ballot, the report said citing Election Commissioner Fuwad Taufeek. His nearest rival was Abdullah Yameen, brother of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom while incumbent Mohamed Waheed had 5 percent of the votes.

Nasheed’s election may create fresh political turmoil as he had pledged during the campaign to arrest those responsible for what he called the coup. The Commission of National Inquiry set up by the government last year found no evidence of a coup, according to the CIA Factbook.

The island nation, located near busy shipping lanes, has been marred by political unrest since Nasheed’s ouster and his subsequent trial on abuse-of-power charges for ordering the arrest of a judge.

Under the country’s election laws, if none of the candidates get more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two is required, Press Trust of India said.

The Maldives derives almost 30 percent of its gross domestic product from tourism, according to the World Bank, and is renowned for its beaches and scuba diving. The country’s population is scattered across 200 of its islands southwest of India.