Male (Maldives), September 30
Pro-China Opposition candidate Mohamed Muizzu won the Maldives presidential runoff on Saturday, securing more than 53 per cent of the vote, local media reported. Other reports mentioned that he was ahead as the counting progressed. The election has turned into a virtual referendum on which regional power — India or China — will have the biggest influence in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.
Mihaaru News reported that incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had received 46% of the vote and that Muizzu had won by over 18,000 votes. Official results were expected later on Sunday.
Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, in a post on X, congratulated Muizzu.
Muizzu had entered the fray as an underdog and was named only as a fallback candidate closer to the nomination deadline after the apex court prevented his party's leader and former president Abdulla Yameen from contesting because he is serving a prison sentence for money laundering and corruption.
“This victory is a reflection of the patriotism of our people,” said Mohamed Shareef, a top official of Muizzu's party. He said it was also a mandate for Muizzu to resurrect the economy and for the release of People’s National Congress party leader Abdulla Yameen from prison.
Solih, who was first elected president in 2018, was battling allegations by Muizzu that he had allowed India an unchecked presence in the country. Solih has insisted that the Indian military's presence in the Maldives was only to build a dockyard under an agreement between the two governments and that his country's sovereignty won't be violated. Muizzu promised that if he won the presidency, he would remove Indian troops from the Maldives. — Agencies
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