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Maldives Heads for Presidential Elections under 165 International Observers

AsiaMaldives Heads for Presidential Elections under 165 International Observers

Maldives is headed for the Presidential Elections on Saturday. Incumbent President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih, who represents the Maldivian Democratic Party, will be seeking a second term in an election that is being keenly watched. With 165 international observers and monitors, the Elections Commission of Maldives has made elaborate arrangements for the polls.
Apart from Mr. Solih, seven other candidates including Ilyas Labeeb of The Democrats, and Mohammed Muizzu of the People’s National Congress are in the fray. While Mr. Labeeb belongs to the breakaway faction of MDP under Mohammed Nasheed, Dr. Muizzu represents the opposition alliance after Abdulla Yameen was convicted by a Maldivian Court. Earlier this year President Ibrahim Solih had defeated Mohammed Nasheed in a Presidential Primary.
In all, over 2 lakh eighty-two thousand voters will be exercising their franchise across five hundred and seventy-four poll booths. The elections will also feature polling stations outside the Maldives at overseas locations of Trivandrum, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo, London and Abu Dhabi. Polling will be held from 8 am and go on till 4 pm local time and the Counting of votes will commence at 4.30 pm on the same day.
The MDP-led alliance had won the popular vote with 58 percent in 2018. The party also has the highest membership in the Maldives. The strategically located archipelago nation has been a strong partner of India over the last few years. As India has been actively pursuing Neighborhood first policy, Maldives has been following an India-first approach.
India has proactively played the role of a first responder for Maldives during several crises including the 1988 coup, 2004 Tsunami and 2014 water crisis. The relations between the two countries have been taken to a new high over the last few years with India helping the neighbour through several developmental projects. Apart from this India has been involved in 47 High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) of which 7 have been completed and inaugurated.
It is also noteworthy that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attended the inauguration ceremony of Maldives President Solih in 2018. However, the opposition under Abdulla Yameen’s guidance has been vocal with their India Out Campaign.

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