Maldives: Muizzu’s party loses Male mayoral poll amid diplomatic row with India

The MDP candidate, Adam Azim, has been elected as the new mayor of Male

Maldives mayoral polls Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu | AP

In a setback to Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, the pro-India opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has secured a landslide victory in the capital Male's Mayoral election.

The MDP candidate, Adam Azim, has been elected as the new mayor of Male, a post held by Muizzu till recently. Muizzu resigned from the position to contest the presidential elections last year.

The Maldives media reported Azim's win as a landslide and victory by a large margin.

The MDP is headed by pro-India former president Mohammad Solih, who was defeated by Muizzu, a pro-China leader, in the presidential elections.

The interim results show that Azim won with 45 per cent of the vote while Azima Shakoor of Muizzu's People's National Congress (PNC) received 29 per cent, PSM News reported.

Others who vied for the mayoral seat included Saif Fathih, the candidate of The Democrats, and independent candidates Hussain Waheed and Ali Shuaib.

The poll on Saturday was marked by a low turnout, according to reports.

Around 30 per cent of the 54,680 eligible voters cast their ballot.

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

Muizzu, who returned to Male on Saturday after a five-day state visit to China, congratulated Azim and pledged to cooperate with the Male City Council and the Mayor.

Azim said that his victory was a victory for all residents of Male.

Speaking to Mihaaru News, Azim expressed gratitude towards those who supported him and voted for him in the election. He also thanked MDP's leadership and campaign teams.

The Mayoral polls were held in the backdrop of derogatory comments posted by three deputy ministers of the Muizzu government against Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading to a diplomatic row with India. During his high-profile visit to China, Muizzu sought to align Maldives closer to Beijing.

Muizzu suspended the three ministers after their social media postings, which stirred concern in India and calls for a boycott by Indian tourists who ranked highest in numbers followed by Russia. Chinese tourists figured third.


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