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Maldives president sworn in after upset election win

Nov. 17, 2013 at 12:10 PM

MALE, Maldives, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The new president of the Maldives vowed to improve the stability of the Indian Ocean nation's tourism industry in his inaugural address Sunday.

Abdulla Yameen was sworn in just one day after his stunning upset win over Mohamed Nasheed, who was considered the odds-on favorite heading in to Saturday's run-off election.

Yameen, a 54-year-old economist, told the crowd in Male that establishing security around the vital tourism industry would help lead to overall stability on the island.

"I shall strive to make the Maldives the safest and most developed nation in the region," said Yameen. "We will [also] maintain good neighborly relations with countries in the region."

Yameen is the second democratically elected president in the Maldives and surprised Nasheed, himself a former president. He polled 51.39 percent of the runoff vote Saturday' to 48.61 percent for Nasheed.

Regional analysts had worried after the indecisive general election in September that the Maldives could slip back into authoritarian rule before Saturday's vote, Press Trust India said.

Those concerns appeared to wane when Nasheed conceded the election without protest. "Today is a happy day for the Maldives — we now have an elected government," Nasheed said.

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