In a closely-watched election in the Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu, the candidate from the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), emerged victorious in the presidential polls after a runoff vote. This victory came after a first round of polling failed to produce a clear winner. Muizzu secured more than 53 percent of the vote in the runoff, defeating the incumbent president, Ibrahim Solih. Here, we provide a breakdown of the election results, Muizzu’s political background, and the implications of this election.
- In the first round of voting, Muizzu led with approximately 46 percent of the votes, while Ibrahim Solih trailed with 39 percent.
- The runoff election saw Muizzu consolidating his lead with over 53 percent of the votes, as reported by local media sources after tallying results from all 586 ballot boxes.
- President Ibrahim Solih gracefully conceded defeat and congratulated Muizzu on his victory.
Muizzu’s Pro-China Stance:
- Mohamed Muizzu is known for his ‘pro-China’ stance, which stems from significant Chinese loans received by the Maldives during the previous PPM government’s tenure.
- These loans have led to closer economic ties between the Maldives and China, including infrastructure projects and investments in the country.
- Muizzu, currently serving as the mayor of the capital city, Male, is a well-educated leader with a doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.
- He previously held the position of Minister of Housing in former President Abdulla Yameen’s cabinet.
Call for Former President’s Release:
- In his post-election statement at his party’s headquarters, President-elect Muizzu expressed gratitude to his supporters and called on the government to release former President Abdulla Yameen.
- Abdulla Yameen is currently serving an 11-year jail sentence on a corruption conviction.
- Notably, Muizzu’s victory marks the first time since the country’s first multi-party elections in 2008 that Maldivians have voted out a liberal democratic government in favor of an authoritarian challenger.
- This outcome signifies a significant shift in the country’s political landscape and its foreign policy orientation, particularly in relation to China.
Reversal of Fortunes:
- The election result is a stark reversal of fortunes for President Ibrahim Solih, who won the previous election in 2018 by a landslide.
- Solih’s 2018 victory was driven by public anger over human rights abuses and corruption under his predecessor’s administration.