22 Apr 2024

How things will change in Maldives after landslide win of pro-China president Mohamed Muizzu’s party?

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu's People's National Congress (PNC) clinched a resounding victory in the recent parliamentary elections, heralding significant changes for the island nation. The PNC secured a super-majority, claiming over 60 out of the 93 seats announced by the Elections Commission.

Although President Muizzu himself was not on the ballot, his party's triumph provides the mandate needed to advance his agenda, particularly the shift away from the previous "India First" policy towards closer ties with China. This electoral success paves the way for initiatives such as extensive land reclamation projects and enhanced economic cooperation with China, including the construction of thousands of apartments on reclaimed land.

Muizzu's policy could worsen flooding risks

Muizzu, a former construction minister, has promised he will beat back the waves through ambitious land reclamation and building islands higher, a policy which environmentalists argue could even exacerbate flooding risks.

With voter turnout reaching 73%, the election underscored the Maldives' strategic position in the rivalry between India and China for influence in the Indian Ocean region. Muizzu's administration aims to navigate this geopolitical landscape by forging stronger economic ties with China, despite concerns raised by environmentalists regarding the potential consequences of aggressive land reclamation.

Renowned for its luxurious resorts and pristine beaches, the Maldives has increasingly become a focal point for geopolitical maneuvering in the Indian Ocean. Muizzu's administration has signaled a departure from previous policies by asking Indian military personnel to leave the country and pursuing controversial development projects in collaboration with China.

MDP had maintained a pro-India stance

Prior to the election, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which had maintained a pro-India stance, controlled parliament, often obstructing Muizzu's initiatives. However, with the PNC's landslide victory, Muizzu now possesses the parliamentary support needed to advance his agenda.

The electoral outcome signals a significant geopolitical shift, as Muizzu's administration seeks to assert greater independence from India and deepen ties with China. Despite facing criticism and controversies, including diplomatic tensions with India, Muizzu remains committed to his vision for the Maldives' future.

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