Pro-China Candidate Wins Over Pro-India Incumbent in Maldives Election


Opposition candidate Mohamed Muizzu has won the Maldives presidential election, defeating incumbent President Ibrahim Solih in a runoff that could mark a pro-China shift in the Indian Ocean archipelago, from its traditional partner, India .

With almost all the votes counted, the Maldives Election Commission said on its website that Muizzu had received 54% of the vote in Saturday’s poll, with 46% for Solih.

About 85% of the 282,000 eligible voters in the Maldives, known for its beautiful beaches and upscale resorts, turned out at more than 586 polling stations on 187 islands.

“I congratulate Muizzu on winning the election and thank the people for their exemplary spirit of democracy,” Solih said via messaging platform X, previously known as Twitter.

Solih, who championed an “India First” policy during his time in power, will remain president until Muizzu’s inauguration on November 17.

The coalition behind Muizzu has supported Chinese loans and investment projects in the past.

Former President Abdulla Yameen, who has close ties to Muizzu, is serving an 11-year prison sentence for corruption and money laundering. Yameen’s supporters say the charges against him are politically motivated.

“Today the people took a strong decision to win back the independence of the Maldives,” said Muizzu to reporters in the capital, Male.

“All of us, working together in unity, God willing, we will be successful.”

Muizzu also asked President Solih to release Yameen to house arrest.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a congratulatory message to Muizzu after the announcement of his victory.

“India remains committed to strengthening the time-tested India-Maldives bilateral ties and enhancing our overall cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region ,” Modi told X.

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