Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has taken the oath of office before thousands of people and hundreds of foreign dignitaries, vowing to end systematic corruption and investigate alleged human rights abuses under his predecessor, Abdulla Yameen.
Solih received a 21-gun salute after being sworn in on Saturday as the Indian Ocean island nation’s seventh president at a special parliamentary assembly at the national football stadium in the capital, Male.
Addressing the crowd of 12,000 people, the 54-year-old pledged to see through his promises to establish justice and equality, as well as “eradicate corruption and theft”.
“We need to focus on moving ahead, to take back the rights we have been denied, and save our nation from its dismal condition,” he said.
Solih is expected to appoint a 19-member cabinet and name the attorney general later on Saturday.
|India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the more than 300 foreign dignitaries at the ceremony in Male[Mohamed Sharuhaan/ AP]|
‘Justice for those abused’
Solih won a contentious election in September promising to restore democracy after a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent during Yameen’s five-year term.
The former president had jailed or forced into exile nearly all opposition leaders, banned protests, detained Supreme Court judges and suspended parliament for long periods of time.
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“We need to help seek justice for those subject to abuse and unfair treatment. The treasury needs to be strengthened. Unaccountable deaths and disappearances need to be investigated and findings disclosed,” Solih said.
“For us to move ahead as one nation, such grave matters need to be addressed immediately.”
India‘s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the more than 300 foreign dignitaries at the ceremony in Male.
The visit is Modi’s first to the Maldives after years of tense relations between the two countries because of Yameen’s embrace of China during his tenure.
The former president, who lost a court challenge to overturn his September 23 poll defeat, did not attend the ceremony, nor did several legislators from his party. On Friday, Yameen said justice had not been served in his dismissed complaint over alleged election fraud.
Reporting by Zaheena Rasheed