Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who faced off against Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) party president, Mohamed Nasheed, won the presidential primary elections with a landslide victory. Solih received around 61 per cent of the total votes cast, according to local media outlets.  Solih’s campaign team celebrated his victory in the elections. Foreign Affairs Minister Abdulla Shahid said the victory represents a resounding affirmation of the president’s progressive policies and inclusive leadership. President Solih told the media after casting his ballot that there had been no instances of vote-rigging in party internal elections.

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Chairman of the Election Committee Ibrahim Waheed told Maldives public broadcaster PSM News that the results of all the ballot boxes have now been received and the voting process was closely monitored.

Despite Mohamed Nasheed opposing Solih’s candidature within his own party, the latter has said he would compete for a second term. Solih had entered the contest in the party primary elections, which took place on January 28. The two faced off and Solih won by a wide margin. Now, this year’s Maldives presidential election will take place on September 9 with a potential runoff on September 30. 

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Solih during his campaign had said that working with other parties would give the MDP a future in Maldivian politics. In order to keep the MDP in power, he has often said that he will establish a coalition with other parties. He refers to this alliance as the “winning formula.” Solih’s win on Saturday ensures him the presidential ticket of the biggest political party in the Maldives.

In the Maldives, this is the first time a sitting president has run for office in a party primary. Solih is the seventh president of the Republic of Maldives. 60-year-old Solih took office in 2018 for a five-year term. He’ll run in the September election for the position of president.

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What do the upcoming Maldives elections mean for India? 

Since 2018, when Abdulla Yameen, Maldives’ president from 2013 to 2018, lost to Solih, relations between India and the Maldives have significantly improved. Yameen had influenced Maldives’ foreign policy in favour of China. During the last year, Yameen’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has reportedly waged an anti-India campaign. It claimed that the MDP administration has allowed Indian forces to be stationed on Maldivian land.

After being found guilty of money laundering and bribery late last year, Yameen is currently serving an 11-year jail term. This jail term prevents him from running for office. However, his Progressive Congress Coalition is seeking to develop a legal argument for a higher court to exonerate him. 


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