Maldives Opposition Candidate Mohamed Muizzu Wins Maldives Presidential Election

Maldives Opposition Candidate Mohamed Muizzu Wins Maldives Presidential Election

Oct. 1, 2023, 7:30 a.m.

Opposition candidate Mohamed Muizzu, who western countries labeled as pro-China candidate, has won the presidential election in the Maldives, the island nation in the Indian Ocean.

The election commission said that opposition candidate Mohamed Muizzu got about 54 percent of the votes, beating incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the run-off vote on Saturday.

Solih was seeking to be re-elected to serve a second term.

Muizzu, the mayor of the capital Male, ran the race backed by a coalition of opposition parties.

Conceding the election, Solih congratulated Muizzu on social media.

The island nation is strategically located in the Indian Ocean.

The election was widely seen as an indicator of which of two countries was more favored, nearby India or China, with its Belt and Road Initiative.

Solih has emphasized relations with India, saying it benefits the defense and security of The Maldives.

Muizzu favors China, saying that excessive military cooperation with India could erode the country's sovereignty.

He served as housing minister under former President Abdulla Yameen, who promoted pro-China diplomacy.

Muizzu was involved in large-scale infrastructure projects supported by China during his tenure in the cabinet.

His victory could help China increase its influence as it steps up activities in regional waters.

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