Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom was accused of corruption and stifling dissent and the media during his time in office.
Fear of a permanent Indian military presence kickstarts debate over archipelago’s sovereignty.
A local extremist group linked to Al Qaeda murdered Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, missing for more than five years, an independent commission finds.
Ex-president Mohamed Nasheed, 51, was set for a dramatic return to the top of the national parliament, with his Maldivian Democratic Party headed for a two-thirds majority in the 87-member assembly.
President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih's Maldivian Democratic Party is seeking at least 44 seats in the 87-member Parliament for a majority to pass legislation needed to implement pledges from last year's presidential campaign.
Former president Abdulla Yameen is accused of receiving $1 million of government money through a private company that is now being implicated in a corrupt deal to lease tropical islands for hotel development.
Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, 54, emerged as common opposition candidate as all key dissidents were either jailed or forced into exile by Abdulla Yameen who took power following a controversial run-off in 2013.
Celebrations broke out across the tropical archipelago with opposition supporters carrying yellow flags of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and dancing on the streets.
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen was expected to cement his grip on power in the tropical archipelago in an election that opposition and international groups have criticised for a lack of transparency and the suppression of dissent.
Around 240,000 Maldivians will head to the polls on Sunday to choose their president in the small Indian Ocean nation.
An emergency imposed after a court ordered the release of jailed politicians will be allowed to expire after allowing time for the government to investigate corruption allegations against the judges who issued the order.
The Maldivian president declared a 15-day state of emergency earlier this month, curtailing the powers of the judiciary and the legislature.
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