Maldives Mayoral Elections: Adam Azim’s Landslide Victory Amid Diplomatic Tensions | Clear Update

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Adam Azim

In a surprising turn of events for Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, the opposition party Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) achieved a significant triumph as their candidate, Adam Azim, emerged victorious in the mayoral elections of Male. This outcome comes against the backdrop of an ongoing diplomatic standoff with India, marking a critical juncture in Maldives’ political landscape.

Azim’s Commanding Win

Adam Azim’s victory was not just a win; it was a “landslide” as described by reports, securing a substantial 5,303 votes out of 41 boxes counted. In contrast, his rival Aishath Azima Shakoor, representing Muizzu’s People’s National Congress (PNC), garnered 3,301 votes. This electoral mandate underscores a clear preference for the MDP candidate and signals a shift in public sentiment.

Low Turnout Amidst Diplomatic Tensions

The mayoral election witnessed a notably low turnout, occurring amidst heightened diplomatic tensions fueled by derogatory comments made by three deputy ministers of the Muizzu government against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These comments not only ignited a social media storm in India but also prompted calls for a boycott of Maldives by Indian tourists, who constitute the largest demographic, followed by Russians and the Chinese.

Diplomatic Maneuvers: Strengthening Ties with China

In response to the diplomatic fallout, Muizzu took decisive actions by suspending the three ministers and strategically strengthening Maldives’ ties with Beijing during his recent state visit to China. A joint statement issued at the end of the talks emphasized mutual support in safeguarding core interests. China pledged $130 million in assistance, earmarked for developmental projects, with a significant focus on enhancing Male’s infrastructure, particularly the development of roads.

Economic Collaborations with China

Muizzu’s visit resulted in key agreements, including a $50 million initiative to develop a tourism zone in Hulhumale and the construction of 30,000 social housing units in Rasmale. Despite diplomatic tensions with India, the collaboration with China has positioned Maldives for economic growth, signaling the nation’s resilience in the face of geopolitical challenges.

EU Election Observation Mission Report

However, Muizzu’s diplomatic triumphs were not without scrutiny. The EU Election Observation Mission of Maldives released a report highlighting allegations that the ruling coalition (PNC and PPM) deployed anti-India sentiments and disseminated disinformation during the 2023 presidential elections, which Muizzu won. This report adds a layer of complexity to the geopolitical dynamics surrounding Maldives.

Defiant Stance and Global Ocean Ownership

Post-China visit, President Muizzu maintained a defiant stance, asserting that the size of his country doesn’t justify bullying. In an apparent reference to India, he stated, “This ocean does not belong to a specific country. This (Indian) Ocean also belongs to all countries situated in it.” This statement reflects a resolute position amid ongoing diplomatic tensions.

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