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The Latest: Maldives’ president concedes election loss

September 24, 2018
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Maldives' opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih addresses the media in Male, Maldives, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. A longtime but little-known lawmaker, Solih declared victory at his party's campaign headquarters in a contentious election widely seen as a referendum on the island nation's young democracy. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

MALE, Maldives (AP) — The Latest on the Maldives presidential election (all times local):

1 p.m.

The Maldives’ strongman President Yameen Abdul Gayoom has conceded he lost Sunday’s election to his challenger.

Gayoom said at a news conference televised live from the capital, Male: “I know I have to step down now.”

The election commission has released provisional results earlier Monday showing longtime lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had won with 58.3 percent of the vote.

Solih’s win was unexpected. Opposition party members had feared Yameen would rig the vote in his favor. Since his election in 2013, Yameen has cracked down on political dissent, jailing rivals and Supreme Court justices.

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11 a.m.

The Maldives Election Commission says provisional results show opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih winning Sunday’s presidential election.

The commission’s results released Monday show Solih with 134,616 votes and incumbent President Yameen Abdul Gayoom with 96,132 votes.

The results show 89.2 percent voter turnout.

Commission spokesman Ahmed Akram says the final results will be released within the 7-day window parties have to challenge the results in court.

Solih declared victory early Monday in Male.

Yameen has not conceded the race. Spokesman Hussain Shihab says he is awaiting a briefing by top Yameen administration officials before making a statement.

Solih’s win was unexpected, with opposition members fearing Yameen would rig the vote in his favor.

Since his election in 2013, Yameen has cracked down on political dissent, jailing rivals and judges.

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5 a.m.

The U.S. State Department has congratulated the Maldives’ on its peaceful democratic election.

Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih declared victory in Sunday’s vote, which was widely seen as a referendum on democracy in the nation that was holding only its third multiparty democratic elections.

The nation’s strongman president hasn’t conceded, and official results won’t be announced until Saturday, allowing possible court challenges of the vote.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert noted the reported opposition victory in a statement that urged “calm and respect for the will of the people” as the election process concludes.

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