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Maldives bypolls: First political win for president

world Updated: Apr 14, 2012 23:24 IST

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In a major victory for Maldives President Mohammed Waheed, his coalition on Saturday won the bypolls for two key Parliamentary constituencies, in what was seen as the first test of public support for the new regime.

Former Maldivian dictator Maumoon Gayoom's Progressive Party of Maldives' candidate for Thimarafushee constituency, Ahmed Shareef, won the seat with 1,755 votes defeating MDP candidate who got 1,328 votes.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is headed by ousted President Mohammed Nasheed.

The coalition also won the Kaashidhoo constituency, where Jumhooree Party's Abdulla Jabir won the seat with 1,107 votes, defeating MDP candidate Ahmed Haleem, who got 784 votes.

Both the ruling coalition and the MDP were hoping to clinch the two crucial seats.

Nasheed says that he was forced to resign on February 7 in what he claims was a coup d'etat. Nasheed became the first democratically elected leader in the Maldives following the nation's inaugural multi-party elections in October 2008. However, the 2009 legislative elections led to a hung parliament.

His resignation followed weeks of protests against him over the arrest of a judge of a criminal court.

The by-elections were seen by observers as the first political test for Waheed, who earlier served as the deputy of Nasheed.

Hassan's party has been demanding early polls in the country ever since he was ousted from power.

The 77-member Maldivian Parliament has 31 MPs belonging to the Maldivian Democratic Party, 16 from Dhivehi Raiyyithunge Party; 17 from Progressive Party of Maldives; and the rest are either independent or belong to smaller parties.