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Pro-China Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu’s Party Wins Absolute Majority in Elections, Seen as Setback for India

In the recent elections in the Maldives, President Mohamed Muizzu’s party, the People’s National Congress (PNC), has won an absolute majority, securing 66 out of the 86 declared seats 

.This victory is seen as a setback for India, as Muizzu’s party is known for its pro-China stance and its efforts to reduce the country’s dependence on India.

While some people interpreted the victory of Muizzu’s party as an anti-India vote, experts do not believe that to be the case. They argue that foreign policy considerations may have played a role, but it is primarily the domestic policies and the desire for change that influenced the voters 

. It is important to note that the victory of Muizzu’s party may embolden radical Islamist elements in the archipelago, as Muizzu’s policies have been seen as favorable towards them.

According to Smruti Pattnaik, a research fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, the vote for Muizzu’s party is not a vote against India but rather a reflection of the desire for change and the need to give the President a bigger mandate to carry out the changes he wants to implement 

. The outgoing Maldivian Parliament had obstructed the appointment of three ministers that Muizzu wanted, and the people may have wanted to give him a stronger mandate to carry out his campaign promises.

Muizzu is known for his pro-China policies and his efforts to reduce the Maldives’ dependence on neighboring India. He has been pushing for the withdrawal of Indian soldiers stationed in the country and has called China “one of the closest allies and developmental partners of the Maldives” 

. Muizzu’s victory in the parliamentary elections is seen as a further shift away from India and towards China 

The absolute majority of Muizzu’s party in Parliament gives him the strength to review several international projects, including those involving India. However, it is important to note that India has continued to provide aid to the Maldives, showcasing its historical ties with the Maldivian people 

. India has also invested significantly in projects in the Maldives, spending around Rs 7.71 billion ($93 million) in 2023-2024.

One concern raised by experts is the potential for the spread of Islamic radicalization in the Maldives. Muizzu’s policies and his interlinking of nationalism, language, and Islam during the presidential election campaign have raised concerns about the government’s approach to radicalization 

While the victory of President Mohamed Muizzu’s party in the Maldivian parliamentary elections is seen as a setback for India, experts do not believe it to be an anti-India vote. The domestic policies and desire for change influenced the voters, and the victory may embolden radical Islamist elements in the archipelago. Muizzu’s pro-China stance and efforts to reduce dependence on India have raised concerns about the future of India-Maldives relations and ongoing projects. Additionally, the spread of Islamic radicalization in the Maldives is a growing concern. India needs to remain vigilant and maintain its leverage in the region.

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