Pro-China candidate Mohamed Muizzu wins Maldives presidency, upending relationship with India

MALDIVES: Voters in the Indian Ocean archipelago of Maldives on Saturday elected opposition leader Mohamed Muizzu as the country’s president, giving him 54 percent of the votes, according to preliminary results.

Muizzu, candidate for the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), roundly defeated incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and is set to be sworn in on November 17.

The president-elect is widely seen as sympathetic to China’s interests in the country, and less favourably disposed towards India, Maldives’s giant neighbour and traditional security and economic partner.

Solih, who is viewed as pro-India, accepted the results.

“Congratulations to president-elect Muizzu,” Solih wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “I also congratulate the people who have shown a peaceful and democratic process.”

The result upends Solih’s efforts to revert the country’s diplomatic posture back towards New Delhi since taking office five years ago.

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