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Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 12:50
Maldives ex-president elected parliament speaker
By Associated Press
Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 12:50 By Associated Press

Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed listens to AFP journalists' questions during an interview on the sidelines of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) summit on Dec 14, 2018 in Katowice, Poland. (JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP)

MALE, Maldives (AP) — The Maldives' parliament has overwhelmingly voted the country's first democratically elected president as the speaker of the house.

The speaker also has a role in the Judicial Services Commission that regulates the Supreme Court, and is third in line should the positions of the president and vice president become vacant

Mohamed Nasheed received 67 votes from among 87 members. His rival received 17 votes past midnight Tuesday.

The speaker also has a role in the Judicial Services Commission that regulates the Supreme Court, and is third in line should the positions of the president and vice president become vacant.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's Maldivian Democratic Party has swept the parliamentary elections, winning 65 out of 87 seats. Last year, Solih defeated strongman Yameen Abdul Gayoom in the presidential vote.

READ MORE: New Maldives president meets Xi's special envoy

The elections paved the way for Nasheed's return home after years in exile. Nasheed, a former pro-democracy activist was elected president of the Indian Ocean archipelago in 2008, ending a 30-year autocratic government. He resigned in 2012 amid public upheaval over his decision to arrest a senior judge.

He lost the 2013 presidential election to Yameen, and was later jailed over the judge's arrest following a trial criticized for due process violations. He was granted asylum in Britain when he traveled there for medical treatment.

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Nasheed had planned to campaign from neighboring Sri Lanka but gave up plans to contest the 2018 election because his candidacy could have become invalid as he was still serving his sentence.

Nasheed and other politicians jailed under Yameen's government were released after Solih was elected to office while others returned from exile.

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