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HomeHeadline newsMaldives’ Muizzu loses key poll battle to pro-India opposition

Maldives’ Muizzu loses key poll battle to pro-India opposition

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Maldives president Mohamed Muizzu faced a setback on the domestic front as the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the pro-India opposition, achieved a clear victory in the mayoral election of the capital Male on Saturday (13), PTI reports said.

Adam Azim, the MDP candidate, emerged victorious, succeeding Muizzu, who recently resigned from the position to participate in last year’s presidential elections. Local media in the Maldives described Azim’s win as a “landslide” victory.

The MDP, led by pro-India former president Mohammad Solih, had faced defeat against Muizzu in the presidential elections.

Adam Azim, according to local paper Adhadhu, served as the former CEO of the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) in the previous government.

Apart from running his own business, Azim also held various government positions.

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In the election, Azim secured a substantial lead with 5,303 votes after counting 41 boxes. His opponent, Aishath Azima Shakoor of Muizzu’s People’s National Congress (PNC), received 3,301 votes, according to the Maldives’ Sun Online news portal. Reports indicate a low turnout in the election.

The Mayoral election victory is expected to revive the political fortunes of the MDP, which still maintains a majority in the Parliament, according to media reports.

The Mayoral polls unfolded amidst derogatory comments made by three deputy ministers of the Muizzu government against India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, sparking a diplomatic row with the country.

Muizzu, during his state visit to China, sought closer alignment with Beijing. The president returned to Male on January 13 after the five-day visit.

Muizzu suspended the three ministers, in response to their social media posts, sparking concern in India and leading to calls for a boycott from Indian tourists, who constituted the highest number, followed by Russia, with Chinese tourists ranking third.

Despite this, Muizzu asserted that Maldives, as a small country, should not be a “license” for anyone to “bully” them.

When questioned about comments suggesting Maldives is in India’s backyard, the President strongly affirmed the country’s independence, stating that Maldives does not belong to anyone’s backyard and is an independent, sovereign state.

While Muizzu initially came to power with an “India-out” campaign, his recent moves signal an alignment with China in the power dynamics of the Indian Ocean Region.

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