Maldives Presidential Party Secures Landslide Victory, Signals Shift Towards China

Maldives Presidential Party Sweeps Elections, Paving the Way for Closer Ties with China: Landslide Victory Signals Shift in Political Dynamics.

Maldives, 22 April 2024: In a resounding victory for Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu’s party, preliminary results from Sunday’s election indicate a landslide win that is poised to reshape the country’s political landscape and potentially deepen ties with China at the expense of its traditional ally, India.

Muizzu’s People’s National Congress (PNC) clinched an impressive 70 out of 93 seats in Sunday’s vote, consolidating its position with an additional three seats secured by its allies, effectively gaining absolute control of Parliament, as reported by local media early Monday.

This commanding win, if confirmed, would grant the PNC a super majority, encompassing three-quarters of all parliamentary seats. Official validation of the results is anticipated later today.

In contrast, the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), led by former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, known for his pro-India stance, suffered a significant setback, securing only 15 seats, a sharp decline from the 65 seats it held in the previous Parliament.

Of notable concern is the stark gender disparity among elected candidates, with only three women out of 41 standing candidates succeeding in securing seats, all of whom are affiliated with Muizzu’s PNC.

Formal ratification of the election results is slated to occur within the next week, with the new assembly expected to assume office in early May.

The outcome of this election serves as a pivotal juncture for Muizzu’s agenda, particularly his pursuit of closer economic ties with China following his presidential victory last September. With a vastly strengthened parliamentary mandate, Muizzu is poised to advance his policies, which were previously hindered by a limited presence in the outgoing parliament.

The Maldives, a nation comprised of 1,192 coral islands spread across the equator, faces acute vulnerabilities due to rising sea levels attributed to the climate crisis. Muizzu has proposed ambitious plans for land reclamation and island elevation to mitigate these challenges, albeit facing scrutiny from environmentalists over potential exacerbation of flooding risks.

Moreover, Muizzu’s administration has signaled a departure from the country’s longstanding “India First” policy, straining relations with New Delhi. Recent decisions, including the expulsion of Indian military personnel and the awarding of infrastructure contracts to Chinese state-owned enterprises, underscore a notable shift in diplomatic alignment towards China.

As campaigning intensified ahead of the parliamentary elections, Muizzu’s opponents, including former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Democrats and the new party of ex-President Abdulla Yameen, faced significant setbacks, failing to secure any contested seats, according to provisional results and media projections.

Despite these electoral dynamics, voter turnout registered at 72.9 percent, a slight decrease from the previous election in 2019, reflecting continued civic engagement amidst evolving political landscapes.

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