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Maldives election: Celebrations as opposition claims victory

Supporters of Maldives opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih have taken to the streets in celebration after he claimed victory over President Abdulla Yameen in the general election.

The national electoral commission has not yet announced official results.

But Mr Solih has said he won Sunday's vote by a 16% margin, with 92% of the votes counted.

He has already called on President Abdulla Yameen to "accept the will of the people".

"The message is loud and clear. The people of Maldives want change, peace and justice," Mr Solih, widely known as Ibu, told reporters in the capital, Male.

President Yameen, who had been widely expected to win another term in office, has not yet commented publicly.

Mr Yameen's government stands accused of crushing dissent and observers had believed the election was rigged in his favour.

The election commission is expected to announce official preliminary results later on Monday, and full results by the end of the month.

But outside the main opposition campaign centre in Male, hundreds of people gathered overnight to celebrate, chanting "Ibu, Ibu, Ibu".

Exiled ex-President Mohamed Nasheed, who was ousted by Mr Yameen in 2012, said on Twitter that Mr Solih had done "an extremely good service" to the people of Maldives.

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