Maldives Holds Parliamentary Elections with 368 Candidates Vying for 93 Seats

The Maldives held crucial parliamentary elections on April 21, with the results set to impact the country's geopolitical alignment between India and China. Voter turnout and a peaceful process were key highlights.

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Maldives Holds Parliamentary Elections with 368 Candidates Vying for 93 Seats

Maldives Holds Parliamentary Elections with 368 Candidates Vying for 93 Seats

The Maldives held its 2024 parliamentary elections on April 21, with 368 candidates from various parties competing for 93 seats in the People's Majlis (parliament). A total of 284,663 eligible voters, including 139,361 women and 145,302 men, cast their ballots at 602 polling stations across the country and abroad. Voting began at 8:00 am and ended at 5:30 pm, with the Elections Commission (EC) urging the public to visit their polling centers as soon as possible to avoid any issues.

The EC made arrangements to ensure an efficient voting process and called for cooperation from all interested parties to ensure a peaceful election. More than 5,000 officials were active during the polls, and the public was urged to refrain from conducting any campaign activities during the voting period. The newly elected parliamentarians will take their oath of office in May.

The election is seen as a critical test for President Mohamed Muizzu, who has taken a pro-China stance, leading to tensions with India. Muizzu's party, the People's National Congress, campaigned on an 'India out' theme, while the pro-India Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of ex-president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is trying to reverse the country's geopolitical diplomacy with India. India anticipates that the MDP will secure a majority, facilitating robust legislative scrutiny over executive actions.

Why this matters: The Maldives has become a geopolitical hotspot, with global east-west shipping lanes passing through the nation's chain of 1,192 tiny coral islands. The election results will have significant implications for the country's diplomatic relations and strategic alignment in the Indian Ocean region.

As of 10:00 am, the voter turnout was 16%, with 47,296 voters, including 17,885 women and 29,411 men. The Elections Commission confirmed that the voting process started on time and was proceeding smoothly, with no major issues reported. The Maldives experienced nationwide rainfall on the voting day, but the weather did not disrupt sea transportation. The EC urged the public to vote independently and promptly, and the Maldives Police Service took measures to ensure a smooth and secure election process.

Key Takeaways

  • Maldives held parliamentary elections on April 21, 2024.
  • 284,663 eligible voters cast ballots at 602 polling stations.
  • Election seen as a test for President Muizzu's pro-China stance.
  • Voter turnout at 16% as of 10 am, with no major issues reported.
  • Election results will impact Maldives' diplomatic relations and strategic alignment.