Maldives Mayoral Elections: Adam Azim’s Landslide Victory Amidst Diplomatic Dispute

Opposition Triumph: Adam Azim Secures Male Mayoral Seat in Major Upse

In a major loss for Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, opposition party Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Adam Azim won the Male mayoral elections amidst an ongoing diplomatic dispute with India. Muizzu resigned from his office in 2023 to run for president, according to press reports.

Azim’s triumph was described as a “landslide” and a “victory by a large margin.” Azim won with 5,303 ballots out of 41 boxes counted, while his challenger Aishath Azima Shakoor of Muizzu’s People’s National Congress (PNC) received 3,301 votes.

Diplomatic Tensions and Controversies: The Background to Azim’s Victory and the India-Maldives Rift

The election had a low participation and was held amid a controversy created by insulting remarks made by three Muizzu administration deputy ministers against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The statements sparked a social media debate in India, as well as demands for Indian visitors to boycott the Maldives. Indian tourists were the most numerous, followed by Russians and Chinese visitors in that order.

Following these remarks, Muizzu suspended the three ministers and attempted to boost Maldives relations with Beijing during his recent official visit to China.

China’s Support and Agreements: Muizzu’s Efforts Amid Diplomatic Strain

In his media conference, Muizzu said that China provided the Maldives with $130 million in support. He stated that this money would be used on development initiatives, with the majority of it going toward the construction of roads in Male.

“The two sides agree to continue firmly supporting each other in safeguarding their respective core interests,” stated a joint statement published after Muizzu’s discussions with senior Chinese authorities. The two nations recently signed an agreement allowing Maldivian, the Maldives’ national airline, to operate domestic flights in China.

During Muizzu’s visit to China, the two nations signed a $50 million deal to establish a tourist zone in Hulhumale, in addition to creating 30,000 social housing units in Rasmale. His journey to China was hampered not just by diplomatic tensions with India but also by a report issued by the EU Election Observation Mission in the Maldives.

Allegations of Misinformation and Anti-India Sentiments: EU Election Observation Mission Report

According to the research, the governing coalition of the People’s National Congress (PNC) and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) utilized anti-India emotions and sought to distribute misinformation during the 2023 presidential elections, which Muizzu won.

Following his visit to China, the Maldivian President said that his country’s tiny size “does not give them the license to bully us,” alluding to India and the current diplomatic spat between the two nations.

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“We may be small, but that doesn’t give them the right to bully us,” Muizzu, a pro-China politician, stated without mentioning any countries. “This ocean does not belong to any one nation. This (Indian) Ocean belongs to all countries that live in it,” he continued, perhaps mocking India.

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