Maldives Presidential Election Heads for Runoff

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    The Facts

    • On Sunday, the Election Commission of the Maldives announced that a runoff presidential ballot would take place on Sept. 30 after no candidate secured a simple majority in Saturday's first round.

    • While the main opposition Progressive Party of Maldives-People's National Congress (PPM-PNC) candidate, Mohamed Muizzu, received 46% of votes, the incumbent Pres. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) managed to win only 39%.


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    This presidential election is primarily concerned with whether the archipelago strategically located in the Indian Ocean will pivot once again to China or further deepen ties with India, as the geopolitical rivalry between Beijing and Delhi has long shaped its political landscape. The pro-China faction will have to soften its attitude to India if it wants to defeat Solih, now that Nasheed has emerged as the kingmaker.

    Narrative B

    The geopolitical implications of this election are significant, primarily because Solih has championed an India First policy while the PPM seeks to exploit anti-Indian sentiments. However, reducing the presidential race simply to a competition between the influence of New Delhi and Beijing would be a mistake. In addition to domestic factors influencing the vote, the Maldives has several other active foreign policy partners who could maximize its autonomy — these also need to be considered during this vote.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 15% chance that there will be a China-India war by 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


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