• Wednesday, Jul 08, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:58 am

Sri Lanka ready to welcome toppled Maldives strongman

  • Published at 06:14 pm September 26th, 2018
Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen speaks as he gives a statement at President office in Male, Maldives September 24, 2018 AFP

In a major upset, Solih won with 58% of the vote

The defeated strongman of the Maldives, Abdulla Yameen, is welcome in neighbouring Sri Lanka, Colombo said on Tuesday, two days after his surprise defeat in presidential elections.

Sri Lanka has long been a haven for dissidents from the nearby Maldives over years of political upheaval, including for hundreds of opponents of Yameen since he became president in 2013.

In a phone call on Monday, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe "informed Mr Yameen that he is welcome in Colombo at any time," the premier's office said.

Wickremesinghe made the call after hosting Yameen's arch rival and former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed at a luncheon meeting on Monday.

Nasheed, the atoll nation's first democratically elected leader, was sentenced to 13 years in jail after narrowly losing the 2013 elections to Yameen.

He fled to London where he sought refuge and now lives in Sri Lanka.

Sunday's election was held with all key opposition leaders behind bars or in exile, leaving the little-known Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to challenge Yameen.

In a major upset, Solih won with 58% of the vote.

Solih's victory was greeted warmly by India as Yameen had drifted closer to China, borrowing heavily from New Delhi's regional rival to invest in infrastructure.

Declaring victory, Solih demanded Yameen immediately release all political prisoners in the country. A Maldivian court freed five of them on Monday night.

Many more are still in jail, including Yameen's estranged half-brother and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, 80, who is expected to be released shortly.

Under intense international pressure, Yameen conceded defeat and pledged to allow a peaceful transition when he formally steps down on November 17.

Rights group Amnesty International called Tuesday on Solih to "break with the repression and human rights violations of the past and chart a fresh course where human rights are at the heart" of government policy.

The European Union, which had earlier threatened sanctions, said Monday that it would "continue to closely review the situation."

blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail