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Maldives President’s Party Secures Landslide Victory in Parliamentary Election

ANM Desk

In a sweeping victory that marks a significant shift in Maldives’ political landscape, President Mohamed Muizzu’s People’s National Congress (PNC) has emerged triumphant in the parliamentary elections held on Sunday. The preliminary results announced by the Elections Commission of Maldives reveal that the PNC has secured more than two-thirds of the seats in the 93-member parliament. This solidifies Muizzu’s grip on power and signals a departure from the country’s previous diplomatic alignments.

The PNC’s landslide win, with 66 out of 86 declared seats, underscores a resounding mandate from the Maldivian electorate for Muizzu’s agenda. This agenda includes forging closer economic ties with China and reducing reliance on India, the country’s traditional ally. The formal confirmation of the results is anticipated to occur within the week, with the new assembly set to assume office in early May.

The election outcome also highlights a notable disparity in gender representation, with only three women candidates out of 41 being elected. Moreover, all victorious female candidates belong to Muizzu’s PNC, raising concerns about gender inclusivity in Maldivian politics.

The decisive victory for Muizzu’s party represents a pivotal juncture in the country’s foreign policy orientation. Muizzu, who assumed office following his presidential election triumph in September, has been vocal about his intention to bolster economic cooperation with China. This includes the development of infrastructure projects such as the construction of thousands of apartments on contested reclaimed land.

However, Muizzu’s ambitious development plans have not been without controversy. Environmentalists have raised alarms about the potential consequences of extensive land reclamation initiatives. They warn that such endeavors could exacerbate the Maldives’ vulnerability to rising sea levels, a pressing concern for the low-lying nation composed of over a thousand coral islands.

Beyond its picturesque beaches and luxury resorts, the Maldives has increasingly become a focal point in the geopolitical dynamics of the Indian Ocean region. The country’s strategic location along crucial maritime routes has drawn the attention of major global powers. China and India are both vying for influence in the archipelago.

Muizzu’s victory at the polls coincides with a series of strategic maneuvers aimed at recalibrating the Maldives’ foreign relations. In recent weeks, his administration has inked lucrative infrastructure contracts with Chinese state-owned enterprises. This signals a shift away from the pro-India stance adopted by the previous government led by Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

One of the most conspicuous moves has been Muizzu’s decision to expel Indian troops stationed in the Maldives. This move has strained relations with New Delhi. The troop withdrawal comes amid escalating tensions between the two countries. It underscores Muizzu’s commitment to asserting Maldivian sovereignty and autonomy in shaping its foreign policy trajectory.

The outgoing parliament, dominated by Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), has consistently opposed Muizzu’s initiatives. This opposition has impeded his efforts to enact his policy agenda. Despite his predecessor’s optimistic outlook on the election, the MDP suffered a staggering defeat. They secured only a fraction of the seats they previously held.

As the dust settles on the electoral battleground, Muizzu’s administration is poised to chart a new course for the Maldives. This course prioritizes economic development, strategic autonomy, and recalibrated diplomatic ties. Muizzu has received a resounding mandate from the electorate. Now, he faces the arduous task of translating this electoral success into tangible progress for the Maldivian people. This challenge comes with the added complexity of navigating regional geopolitics.

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