We examine the results of the Maldives presidential elections, which saw Mohamed Muizzu, known for being strong supporter of pro-China movements, secure victory along with who are his wife and children
Recently, Maldives’ opposition leader Mohamed Muizzu secured victory in the Maldivian presidential election, defeating the incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, known for his pro-India stance. Muizzu, a British-educated civil engineer who currently serves as the mayor of Male, the capital of the Maldives, garnered 54 percent of the votes, according to initial results released on Saturday.
Representing the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Muizzu’s resounding win ended President Solih’s bid for re-election from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). Muizzu is scheduled to take the oath of office on November 17.
Who is Mohamed Muizzu new Maldives President, biography, age, family, wife, children, education, religion
🇲🇻🇨🇳🇮🇳 Mohamed Muizzu, leader of the “India Out” movement, won the Maldives presidential election, securing more than 53% of votes. He is considered pro-China, seeks to balance India-China ties, and promised to free Maldives from Indian hegemony.pic.twitter.com/Z1C1D0Cr2T
— 🅰pocalypsis 🅰pocalypseos 🇷🇺 🇨🇳 🅉 (@apocalypseos) October 1, 2023
How Mohamed Muizzu used his pro-China leanings to win the Maldives presidential election?
Mohamed Muizzu is widely perceived as favoring China’s interests in the Maldives while holding a less favorable view towards India, the Maldives’ prominent neighbor and traditional security and economic partner. Solih, who had pro-India leanings, gracefully accepted the election results. This outcome disrupts Solih’s efforts over the past five years to shift the Maldives’ diplomatic orientation back towards New Delhi.
Notably, former president Solih was elected in 2018 amid growing discontent with Yameen’s controversial rule, which involved the imprisonment of numerous political opponents, some of whom are now incarcerated alongside the former president. Yameen’s pivot towards Beijing had also raised concerns in New Delhi, which shares apprehensions with the United States and its allies about China’s expanding influence in the Indian Ocean.
Mohamed Muizzu, a 45-year-old British-educated civil engineer, has an unconventional path to the presidency. He previously served as the Minister of Construction in the government of his mentor, Abdulla Yameen. However, Yameen’s imprisonment on corruption charges, which his party claims were politically motivated, led to Muizzu’s selection as the party’s proxy candidate in an election where the strategic positioning of the Maldives with respect to China and India played a central role.
During his tenure as minister under Yameen, Muizzu oversaw numerous infrastructure projects funded by China in the Maldives, including a $200 million bridge connecting the capital to the main airport in the archipelago. He is a Muslim by religion and is married to Sajidha Mohamed.
Born: 15 June 1978 (age 45 years), Malé, Maldives
Party: Progressive Party of Maldives
Education: University of Leeds, University of London
Office: Mayor of Malé since 2021
What does Mohamed Muizzu’s victory means for India?
Muizzu has publicly expressed a preference for closer ties with China. China has indeed played a significant role in financing infrastructure growth in the Maldives. However, the country also grapples with a substantial debt owed to China, some of which will become due in the coming years. Muizzu’s election success was built on a sustained campaign against India’s substantial political and economic influence in the Maldives.
India’s historical involvement in Maldivian affairs, including military intervention to thwart a 1988 coup attempt, has at times sparked resentment in the predominantly Muslim nation. Geographically, the Maldives occupies a strategically vital position in the middle of the Indian Ocean, intersecting one of the world’s busiest east-west shipping routes. India is a member of the Quad alliance, a strategic partnership with the US, Australia, and Japan, formed to address shared security and economic interests in the Indo-Pacific region.