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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2674

Outgoing Maldivian President Gayoom assures his successor smooth transfer of power

Male , 31 October, (Hamaroalhi Daily): Asia’s longest serving leader and Maldives outgoing President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom today proved his true statesmanship as well as his unwavering commitment to foster democracy by assuring his successor Mohamed Nasheed (Anni) a smooth transfer of power. Gayoom with AnniGayoom with Anni

This assurance was communicated by Gayoom when he met with Anni after the latter won the Tuesday’s Presidential runoff by garnering 54 per cent of the votes.

In a gesture of statesmanship, Gayoom invited Anni to hold his first press conference as President-elect at the President’s Office after their meeting.

The nation’s spirits rose as the duo, largely political rivals, held a joint press conference and shook hands in a ceremony televised and broadcast live.

Anni said "I want to assure the public and international community that transition to democracy will be smooth."

"I want to offer greater democracy and more freedoms to my people," he added.

President Gayoom said the election held yesterday was a “very good experience in the country’s democratic life.”

And on a lighter vein he said he was "not looking fresh because he came second in the race."

Gayoom said he "doesn't like to be beaten either in a match or an election" adding however "sometimes we win, sometimes we lose."

Gayoom thanked the people for carrying out such a competitive presidential election in a “smooth and peaceful manner.”

He also assured that till Nasheed assumes office on 11 November, the Government would provide him the full protection including a state residence.

The outgoing President Gayoom also said: "“My legacy is going to be introducing a modern liberal form of democracy: that is the greatest legacy anyone can give."

Anni congratulated President Gayoom for the “democratic example” shown by him calling him "one of the most important leaders of this country."

Meanwhile the Commonweath too hailed the outgoing President for his legacy.

Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma hailded Gayoom for his statesmanship, leadership and vision in opening up the democratic and political space for others.

"He leaves a legacy of impressive growth and development in Maldives, and should be proud of his role in leading the country to a prosperous, democratic future,” Sharma said in a statement.

Gayoom said unlike former presidents who left the country, he would stay in the Maldives.

Anni responded to the incumbent President: "I am glad Gayoom has decided to stay with us in Maldives. We will make his life comfortable. I want people to recognise Gayoom and respect his decision.”

“None of our past presidents are in the country. We can’t have a functioning democracy without past rules as an institution,” Anni added.

"We will use Gayoom's long experience when needed,” President-elect assured.

Posed with a query, if Anni who has been reportedly tortured in prison would now take action against it, he said: "I dont believe in witch hunt. That will not help democracy that we want to promote in the Maldives."

Prior to the joint press briefing, the duo met at the President’s office to “discuss ways to run the government peacefully and within legal bounds.”

In a statement given to Voice of Maldives today afternoon, President Gayoom thanked all the people who voted for him.

Gayoom who fell short of a mere 4 percent of votes to a majority, thanked the people for the opportunity given for the last 30 years, serving 6 terms.

Gayoom said he was “proud of his work in bringing a full democracy to the Maldives.”

He also urged Anni to “accept this new era of democracy with full responsibility.”

Gayoom got 45.79 per cent or 82, 121 vote at yesterday’s run-off whilst Anni garnered 54.21 per cent or 97,222 from a total of 179, 343 votes. 1861 votes were invalid.

At the October 8 first round President Gayoom received 71,731 votes or 40.63 per cent and yesterday’s run off saw him garnering an extra 10,390 votes, as a stand alone contestant.

Yet MDP’s Anni, backed by 3 opposition presidential candidates who were eliminated from the first round, except IDP's Umar Naseer, got an extra 52,929 votes, at the second round.

209, 294 were eligible to vote. Voter turn out stood at 86.08 per cent, faring even better than the first round 85 per cent.

- Asian Tribune -

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