Abdulla Yameen has won Maldives presidential election run-off, beating favourite Mohamed Nasheed in a close-run contest that voters hope will end nearly two years of political turmoil, Elections Commission results showed.

The results, released late on Saturday, showed Yameen secured 51.3 per cent of the popular vote compared to 48.6 per cent for ex-president Nasheed after a contest wracked by lengthy delays that were viewed as politically motivated.

The result represents a victory for the political old guard that united behind Yameen, a half-brother of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who ruled Maldives for 30 years and was deemed a dictator by rights groups.

Despite the acrimonious election campaign, Nasheed conceded defeat and said he would not challenge the results of an election monitored by international observers.

"I graciously accept defeat," Nasheed told reporters on the main capital island of Male.

Opposition leader Nasheed, a former pro-democracy campaigner and climate change activist who won the first free polls in 2008, had been the frontrunner 21 months after he resigned under pressure from demonstrations and mutinous police officers.

The election commission said that a formal announcement of Yameen's victory would be made early Sunday ahead of his inauguration later in the day.

Source: Agencies