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Pro-China Candidate Mohamed Muizzu Wins Maldives Presidential Polls, Calls For Abdulla Yameen’s Release

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Male [Maldives], October 1 (ANI): Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Mohamed Muizzu, won the Maldivian presidential elections on Saturday, Al Jazeera reported citing local media.

This was the second round of polling after no candidate emerged clear winner in the first round. Muizzu had emerged as the frontrunner in the first round with around 46 per cent votes, followed by Ibrahim Solih’s 39 per cent.

Al Jazeera reported citing several local media platforms that Muizzu has won with more than 53 per cent of the vote, after the tallying of results of all 586 ballot boxes.

After the thumping win, the Maldives president-elect delivered a brief statement at his party’s headquarters, thanking all those who voted for him and calling on the government to release former President Abdulla Yameen, who is serving an 11-year jail sentence on a corruption conviction.

“Today is a very happy day…I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the Maldivian people. This outcome today is a huge encouragement for us in our pursuit to build a better future for our country, and to ensure the sovereignty of our nation,” Al Jazeera quoted him as saying.

“Yameen, the leader of the PPM, must be released”, Muizzu said. “The president has the power to transfer [Yameen] home imprisonment. And doing so, I believe, is the best action that can be taken in our nation’s interests,” he added.

Notably, Muizzu and his is considered ‘pro-China’ because of the huge Chinese loans by the country, under the previous PPM government.

After the results, Maldives President Ibrahim Solih conceded defeat in Saturday’s run-off vote and congratulated Muizzu

“Congratulations to the winner of the presidential election @MMuizzu. Thank you for the beautiful democratic example shown by the people in the elections. Thank you to the MDP and AP members who worked together and to all the people who voted for me,” he posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Maldives Foreign Minister and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leader Abdulla Shahid also congratulated Muizzu and also thanked President Ibrahim Solih for his tenure.

“Congratulations to President-elect Dr @MMuizzu for winning the Presidential Election 2023. Many congratulations and much gratitude to President @ibusolih, for the many seeds of hope he had sown over the last 5 years, which will surely reap much prosperity for our country and people,” he posted on X.

Parliament Speaker and former President Mohamed Nasheed also congratulated Muizzu on his apparent second round victory.

“Congratulations, President-elect Dr. @MMuizzu”, he posted on X.

Muizzu is currently serving as the mayor of the capital, Male. He holds a doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. He was the Minister of Housing in former President Abdulla Yameen’s cabinet, according to Al Jazeera.

Notably, Solih’s defeat to Muizzu marks the first time Maldivians have voted out a liberal democratic government in favour of an authoritarian challenger since the country held its first multi-party elections in 2008, Al Jazeera reported.

The outcome also marks a stark reversal of fortune for Solih, who won the last election in 2018 by a landslide, amid widespread anger over human rights abuses and corruption under his predecessor. (ANI)

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