Landslide Victory for Pro-China Leader Mohamed Muizzu’s Party in Maldives Parliamentary Elections

With PNC’s overwhelming parliamentary majority and Maldives’ President Mohamed Muizzu heading this party, the scenario has shifted drastically for this country in the outgoing and the coming electoral years. After the announcement of the results of the parliamentary elections by the Elections Commission of the Maldives, within the 86 of the parties, PNC has won 66 seats, which means a great achievement and a super majority in the 93-member majlis, commonly known as parliament.

Muizzu secured the parliamentary approval earlier this year for a number of policies, which is the key evidence of the support for his pro-China policy and an aspiration to expand the economic cooperation with China while reducing dependence on India. Leveraging customer relationships has been at the core of the strategic realignment that was undertaken during Muizzu’s presidency. He aims at strengthening relations with China and undertake infrastructural development projects like constructing many thousand apartments in the area that has been reclaimed and considered wrong.

Prior to the election, Muizzu’s government coalition, the PNC and its affiliated parties, commanded only 8 seats in the last parliament, making it rather difficult for the president to put into operation his policy programme even after his spectacular victory in the September elections. On the other hand, the main opposition, the Maldivian Democratic Party that was dominated the Parliament in the past with a super majority decisively lost the latest polls, controversially winning a mere dozen seats.

”Meeting with this year’s model run, 45-year-old Muizzu stood out as one of the first to cast their vote in the capital, Male, where he once was mayor of, saying that he’ll continue call on fellow citizens to vote in large numbers and exercising their rights like citizens of any country ought to. ” This kind of active dialogue with the electorate demonstrates that parliamentary elections are crucial not only in terms of political orientation and mood but also in practical terms, such as the formation of the government.

In addition to the contemporary political issue, fundamental to Muizzu’s plan for the Maldives is his daring initiative to deal with the drastic problem of global warming that threatens the existence of the county through the ever rising sea levels. If a small island nation situated in the Indian ocean with more than 1192 coral islands developing in to low lying islands is at a greater perils of adjusting with the negative consequences of global warming. The key existential threat to Muizzu is climate change induced threats such as flooding, cyclones, storm surge and sea level rise mostly compounded by land reclamation measures, erection of dams and dykes thereby increasing flooding potential due to retention of water surface profile.

Apart from environmental issues, the Maldives has turned into a strategic geopolitics hotspot of the Indian Ocean states where power jostling of different global players takes place along sea lanes. Muizzu’s presidency has been marked by a qualitative shift of Indian Ocean Strategy air power towards China, in harmony with the former president Abdulla Yameen’s diplomatic relations.

For instance, in its recent years, Muizzu’s administration has entered lucrative and large-scale infrastructure deals with Chinese state-owned enterprises, thus intensifying Muizzu’s political-economic relations with China. Also, the government plans on the withdrawal of Indian troops in Maldives, a seeking of the right balance in the foreign policy.

The outgoing parliament with MDP, the party which supports India in power with its leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, is eager to prevent Muizzu’s attempts of starting the diplomatic shift. Some of the recent features that have revealed the antoganism between the government executive and the legislative profiles include the following; Inability of the cabinet nominees and budgetary proposals.

In this context of escalating international tensions and increasing political division at home, the voters excelled themselves and sent out a 73 per cent share to vote in the parliamentary elections. This active participation indicates a Maldivian electorate’s interaction with the democratic process in the country and raises the stakes that are at play in the electoral process.

In the future, Muizzu had a splendid win in the parliamentary elections that solidify his political power and the parliamentary has a clear green light for him on his pro-China polices. However, it also raises some concern on the shift of alliance of the Maldives and its overall strategic location in one of the strategically sensitive region of global interest, particularly the Indian Ocean region.

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