Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu faced a setback when the pro-India opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) defeated his party candidate in the capital Male’s Mayoral election.
Muizzu himself held the position of Male mayor but resigned to contest presidential elections last year. To fill the vacant post, the poll was conducted on Saturday (13 January).
MDP candidate was Adam Azim who defeated Aishath Azima Shakoor of Muizzu’s People’s National Congress (PNC) by a "large margin", which Maldives media described as a "landslide" victory according to Indian Express.
The MDP is headed by pro-India former president Mohammad Solih, who faced defeat against pro-China Muizzu in the presidential elections. However, MDP making a comeback amid the diplomatic row with India is significant.
This comes days after Chinese President Xi Jinping and Muizzu signed 20 key agreements. Muizzu had returned to China yesterday only after a five-day state visit.
His decision to visit China before India was a break from tradition, a move recognised by foreign media outlets and seen as a strategic choice for the Maldives.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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