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November 17, 2013

Maldives Inaugurates New President

by VOA News

The Maldives has inaugurated a new president, a day after his surprise victory, which ended nearly two years of political turmoil.

Yaamin Abdul Gayoom and his deputy, Mohamed Jameel were sworn in Sunday by the country's chief justice.

Eight days ago in the first round of presidential voting in the Maldives, Gayoom's opponent, Mohamed Nasheed, received 47 percent of the vote, falling just short of the 50 percent majority needed to win outright.

A runoff was to be held the next day, but the Supreme Court postponed the election for a week after the third-place candidate petitioned for a delay.

Nasheed accused the court of trying to prevent him from returning to power after he resigned at gunpoint last year. However, after Saturday's upset loss, Nasheed conceded defeat and said he was pleased the Maldives finally had a democratically elected president.

He attended Sunday's inauguration.

Gayoom is the brother of former strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the archipelago nation with an iron fist for 30 years before being toppled in 2008 elections by Nasheed.

Saturday's runoff election came amid international pressure for the tiny archipelago nation to end months of political unrest.