Even the most durable-looking leaders are having a hard time these days. Last year, Mr Robert Mugabe was ousted in Zimbabwe after decades of iron-fisted rule. Closer to home, Najib Razak was unexpectedly ousted in a wave of voter unhappiness at his government's perceived corrupt practices and he now faces embezzlement and other charges at the hands of the new government in Malaysia. The Sharifs of Pakistan, that nation's dominant political family, have been similarly thwarted from regaining the power they once held at national level. Add to the list Mr Abdulla Yameen of the Maldives, who jailed supreme court justices and fired successive police chiefs in his bid to retain control of the archipelago in the Indian Ocean.
The final results due by today will likely confirm what the interim tally suggested - Mr Yameen was roundly voted out by Maldivians, who turned out in overwhelming numbers to give opposition candidate Ibrahim Solih 58 per cent of the vote. Mr Yameen - who saw off one putative challenger, former president Mohamed Nasheed, by having him disqualified under terrorism laws and in February had half-brother and former mentor Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was president for 30 years, jailed on charges of plotting a coup - clearly could not do enough to quell discontent against his rule. Under the circumstances, the surprise is not so much the election results but that he has accepted the verdict.