Mal­di­vian Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tions: Op­po­si­tion Claims Vic­tory

The McGill Daily - - News - Ece Özer News Writer

The Mal­dives held their pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on Sep­tem­ber 23. The in­cum­bent Pres­i­dent Ab­dulla Yameen rep­re­sented the Pro­gres­sive Party of Mal­dives (PPM). Ibrahim Mo­hamed Solih rep­re­sented the op­po­si­tion, Mal­dives Demo­cratic Party (MDP). Solih won the elec­tion with 58 per cent of the votes, which was 17 points more than Yameen.

Mariyam Shi­una, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Trans­parency Mal­dives, said that “prior to Sun­day’s elec­tions, many feared about po­ten­tial fraud [in Yameen’s favour] due to lim­ited free­dom of mass me­dia.” Ac­cord­ing to BBC News, in­ter­na­tional mon­i­tors have been banned from ob­serv­ing the elec­tion, and most of the for­eign me­dia’s ac­cess was re­stricted on elec­tion day, which raised ques­tions about the elec­tions’ in­tegrity. For Solih, his elec­tion is “the first suc­cess­ful step on the road to jus­tice.”

Yameen re­cently signed a free trade agree­ment with China, and ac­cepted Chi­nese in­vest­ments in cur­rent and fu­ture con­struc­tion projects in the Mal­dives. Solih sup­ports an al­liance with In­dia and strongly op­poses busi­ness with China. Solih be­lieves China is al­ly­ing it­self with the Mal­dives to ac­cess the es­sen­tial trade routes of the In­dian Ocean. Ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts, the Mal­dives’ as­so­ci­a­tion with China was an im­por­tant is­sue for vot­ers, and for China it­self. Yameen’s loss could mean the loss of trade ac­cess for China.

The Mal­dives’ fu­ture, and its new for­eign poli­cies, will be de­ter­mined once the na­tional elec­toral com­mis­sion ap­proves Solih’s claim on win­ning the elec­tion.

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