AP Photos: The Maldives opposition’s surprise election win

In this Friday, Sept. 21, 2018 photo, a giant cut-out of Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom stands on a road ahead of Sunday's elections in Male, Maldives. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

MALE, Maldives (AP) — The surprise victory of opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the Maldives’ third multiparty presidential election will shake up politics in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

Famed for its sandy white beaches and luxury resorts, the Maldives under outgoing President Yameen Abdul Gayoom saw economic growth, in part due to China’s growing influence and investment in South Asia. But after being elected in 2013, Yameen rolled back democratic freedoms, jailing rivals and controlling courts, and was expected to hold onto power.

An election-eve raid of Solih’s main campaign office cast a pall over Sunday’s balloting, triggering fears that the vote would be rigged. But the turmoil did not appear to deter voters, who waited in rain and tropical heat to cast ballots.

The election commission released provisional results on Monday showing Solih had won with 58.3 percent of the vote, with voter turnout of 89.2 percent in the country of 400,000 people. Officials said voting proceeded smoothly, with no reported incidents.

After meeting with Solih, Yameen conceded defeat and promised to work on a smooth transition of power.

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