Solih sworn in as Maldives’ new president

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih speaks after being sworn in as the country's new President in Male, Maldives, Nov. 17, 2018. EPA-EFE/FAYAZ MOOSA

MALE.- The new president of the Maldives was sworn in Saturday at a ceremony attended by some 12,000 invitees, including the prime minister of India, but with the notable absence of his campaign rival, who could face an investigation into his human rights record while in power.

As a candidate for the opposition coalition, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih swept to victory against former president Abdulla Yameen in the September election, prompting the latter to unsuccessfully challenge the results in the small Indian Ocean country’s top court.

«I have now taken the oath and sworn by the name of Allah. The oath to uphold the constitution and protect the rights of the people. I am assuring you that I will remain by my word,» Solih told the crowd gathered at the national soccer stadium in the capital Male.

“I am assuring that there will be no discrimination between the people under my government. I will not, even for a second, forget how the people voted for me. I will remember that the vote for me was a vote for a joint coalition,» he added.

Narendra Modi’s attendance at the swearing-in ceremony was notable, as Solih seeks to renew strong bilateral ties with his continental neighbor, regarded as a change in direction from Yameen’s pro-China policies.

Also present at the ceremony was Mohamed Nasheed, a former president who recently returned to the Maldives after two years in exile to escape a lengthy prison sentence pursued by Yameen’s administration.

Nasheed was facing terrorism charges that were widely dismissed by international observers as being politically motivated.

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