New Delhi, Oct 18 (PTI) India Thursday said the recently-concluded elections in Maldives mark the triumph of democratic forces in the country and expressed confidence that the mandate of the Maldivian people will prevail.

In a surprise turn of events in Maldives, united opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was declared the winner in the elections last month. President Abdulla Yameen initially said he accepted defeat but later launched a Supreme Court challenge seeking a fresh vote.

On Wednesday, Yameen told the nation in a televised address that he has accepted defeat.

Asked about India’s stand on the Maldives election and Yameen’s remarks, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said New Delhi has consistently held the position since the imposition of emergency early this year that there was a need to protect democracy in Maldives and preserve the mandate of the people.

“India welcomes the acceptance of the verdict of the people of Maldives. This election marks not only the triumph of democratic forces in the Maldives, but also reflects the firm commitment to the values of democracy and the rule of law. We are confident that the mandate of the people will prevail,” he said.

India had welcomed the successful completion of the third presidential election process and congratulated Solih on his victory, he noted.

“Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) subsequently spoke to President-elect Solih and offered his personal congratulations. Other world leaders have also welcomed the successful conduct of the elections.

“In keeping with our ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy, India looks forward to working closely with the Maldives in further deepening our partnership,” Kumar said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.