Challenger wins Maldives presidency

Oct. 29, 2008 at 10:52 AM

MALE, Maldives, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Challenger Mohamed Nasheed defeated Asia's longest serving leader, Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, in a runoff election, officials said.

Provisional results indicate Nasheed received 54 percent of the vote compared to 46 percent for Gayoom, the newspaper Hamaroahli reported Wednesday.

Nasheed, the MDP alliance candidate, was backed by four opposition presidential candidates who were eliminated Oct. 8 in the first round of the presidential balloting.

In announcing the results Wednesday morning, the president of the election commission said that 86 percent of eligible voters had participated in the runoff, the Maldives Chronicle reported.

The new president of the Indian Ocean island nation will be sworn in on Nov. 11.

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