The Latest on the Maldives presidential election (all times local):

1 p.m.

The Maldives’ strongman President Yameen Abdul Gayoom has conceded he lost Sunday’s election to his challenger.

Gayoom said at a news conference televised live from the capital, Male: “I know I have to step down now.”

Maldives’ opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, left, and his running mate, Faisal Naseem, leave after addressing media in Male, Maldives, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. A longtime but little-known lawmaker Solih declared victory at his party’s campaign headquarters in Male in a contentious election widely seen as a referendum on the island nation’s young democracy. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

The election commission has released provisional results earlier Monday showing longtime lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had won with 58.3 percent of the vote.

Solih’s win was unexpected. Opposition party members had feared Yameen would rig the vote in his favor. Since his election in 2013, Yameen has cracked down on political dissent, jailing rivals and Supreme Court justices.

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A Maldivian man walks on a street in Male, Maldives, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih declared victory early Monday in the Maldives’ contentious presidential election, which was widely seen as a referendum on the island nation’s young democracy. Famed for its sandy white beaches and luxury resorts, the nation of islands and atolls in the southern Indian Ocean has seen economic growth and longer life expectancy under strongman President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, according to the World Bank. But democratic freedoms have been curtailed. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

11 a.m.

The Maldives Election Commission says provisional results show opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih winning Sunday’s presidential election.

The commission’s results released Monday show Solih with 134,616 votes and incumbent President Yameen Abdul Gayoom with 96,132 votes.

Maldivians walk down the breakwater in Male, Maldives, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih declared victory early Monday in the Maldives’ contentious presidential election, which was widely seen as a referendum on the island nation’s young democracy. Famed for its sandy white beaches and luxury resorts, the nation of islands and atolls in the southern Indian Ocean has seen economic growth and longer life expectancy under strongman President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, according to the World Bank. But democratic freedoms have been curtailed. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

The results show 89.2 percent voter turnout.

Commission spokesman Ahmed Akram says the final results will be released within the 7-day window parties have to challenge the results in court.

Solih declared victory early Monday in Male.

A car carrying Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, not seen, leaves the president’s office in Male, Maldives, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih declared victory early Monday in the Maldives’ contentious presidential election, which was widely seen as a referendum on the island nation’s young democracy. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Yameen has not conceded the race. Spokesman Hussain Shihab says he is awaiting a briefing by top Yameen administration officials before making a statement.

Solih’s win was unexpected, with opposition members fearing Yameen would rig the vote in his favor.

Since his election in 2013, Yameen has cracked down on political dissent, jailing rivals and judges.

Supporters of Maldives’ opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih celebrate their victory in Male, Maldives, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. A longtime but little-known lawmaker Solih declared victory at his party’s campaign headquarters in the capital city Male in a contentious election widely seen as a referendum on the island nation’s young democracy.(AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

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5 a.m.

The U.S. State Department has congratulated the Maldives’ on its peaceful democratic election.

Supporters of Maldives’ opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih celebrate their victory in Male, Maldives, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. A longtime but little-known lawmaker Solih declared victory at his party’s campaign headquarters in the capital city Male in a contentious election widely seen as a referendum on the island nation’s young democracy.(AP Photo/Mohamed Sharuhaan )

Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih declared victory in Sunday’s vote, which was widely seen as a referendum on democracy in the nation that was holding only its third multiparty democratic elections.

The nation’s strongman president hasn’t conceded, and official results won’t be announced until Saturday, allowing possible court challenges of the vote.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert noted the reported opposition victory in a statement that urged “calm and respect for the will of the people” as the election process concludes.

Source: The Associated Press

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