Maldives election: Opposition takes lead in hotly contested run-off

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Mohamed Muizzu, took a surprise lead over the incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the first round of voting on Saturday.

Provisional results from nearly all of the 586 ballot boxes have now been announced, showing Muizzu winning Saturday’s run-off with more than 53 percent of the vote.

The Dhauru newspaper, which tallied results from 568 boxes, said Muizzu obtained 53.73 percent of the vote while Solih took 46.27 percent.

The Mihaaru newspaper, which tallied results from 554 boxes, said Muizzu won 53.93 percent of the vote, compared to Solih’s 46.07 percent.

Solih, who won the last election in 2018 amid widespread public outrage over corruption and rights abuses under Muizzu’s coalition, returned the Maldives firmly into India’s orbit. He secured similar amounts of funding from New Delhi to scale up infrastructure, including building housing and bridges in the Male region.

Muizzu has promised to limit India’s presence in the Maldives, including by expelling a small group of Indian military personnel stationed in the archipelago. He has also pledged to ensure development and fix the economy.

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