Male, Maldives. President Mohamed Waheed of the Maldives, accused of seizing power in a military-backed coup, successfully faced down his first popularity test on Saturday with his favorites winning two by-elections.
Waheed did not directly field candidates but endorsed members of his coalition partners for the Thimarafushi and Kaashidhoo constituencies and both won comfortably, the Elections Commission results showed.
Government-backed Progressive Party of Maldives candidate Ahmed Shareef won Thimarafushi constituency with 1,755 votes while former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party got only 1,327.
In Kaashidhoo, the Jumhoory Party candidate who was supported by Waheed won with 1,107 votes while the MDP candidate managed only 784.
The election was for two seats in the 77-member People’s Majlis. More than 85 percent of the 6,000 electorate turned out to vote, official results showed. The voting was peaceful, Elections Commission spokesman Mohamed Tholal said.
The by-elections were called after the country’s highest court recently disqualified the MPs elected in 2009.
Former President Nasheed, who stepped down in February, has claimed that he was forced to resign following a military coup that was backed by his then deputy, Waheed, who went on to succeed him.
Waheed has denied allegations that he was involved in any coup and has ordered a government investigation into Nasheed’s controversial exit from office.