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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 August 2007, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Maldives leader heads for victory
Maldives President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
President Gayoom is being accused of poll rigging
The Party of the President of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, has claimed victory in a referendum on the new constitutional system.

The results showed a strong majority in favour of a presidential system of government rather than adopting a parliamentary system.

The opposition said there were discrepancies in the count and they suspected the vote had been rigged.

Mr Gayoom has been in power in the Maldives for the past 29 years.

A spokesman for the president's party, Ibrahim Shafiu, said the result was a clear manifestation that the public fully backed the president and his reform programme.

The opposition say they suspect the poll was rigged, and that a vote for them would have hastened the end of President Gayoom's one-party rule.

The Maldives will hold its first multi-party elections next year.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: The Maldives
03 Aug 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: The Maldives
18 Aug 07 |  Country profiles
Profile: President Maumoon Gayoom
25 Sep 03 |  South Asia
Maldives - reform or autocracy?
04 Jun 06 |  South Asia

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