Mint Explainer: What does Muizzu’s election win mean for India-Maldives ties?

Muizzu's dominant victory on Sunday gave his party a more than two-thirds majority in the country's parliament
Muizzu's dominant victory on Sunday gave his party a more than two-thirds majority in the country's parliament


  • The victory could be worrying for New Delhi, given Muizzu’s pro-China stance and his suspicion of India's economic and political influence over the Maldives. However, there have also been signs of an improvement in bilateral relations of late.

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu won a crushing victory in the country’s parliamentary elections on Sunday. His party, the pro-China People’s National Congress, won 66 of the first 86 seats declared by the elections commission, enough for a super-majority. To form a government, a political party or coalition needs a majority in the 93-member legislative body.

Muizzu’s victory botsters his position at home and could have an impact on the country’s policy towards India. Mint takes a closer look at the issue.

What happened?

On Sunday the Maldives held elections to the People's Majlis, the country’s parliament. Before the elections the Majlis was controlled by the opposition, led by the traditionally pro-India Maldivian Democratic Party. This led to periodic political clashes, including threats of impeachment against Muizzu. However, his dominant victory on Sunday gave him a more than two-thirds majority in the Majlis, while the Maldivian Democratic Party faced serious reverses and won just 10 seats.

What does this mean for the Maldives?

Muizzu’s victory is not entirely unprecedented. Most parties have won big majorities in the Majlis since the country became democratic in the late 2000s. Muizzu told voters that a victory for his party would help produce results. He promised to deliver development projects, improve the country’s economic trajectory, and provide funding for local government bodies, among other things. His victory will also bolster his political position after months of bruising clashes with the opposition.

How will India see the election result?

At one level, this could be worrying for New Delhi as Muizzu belongs to a section of Maldivian politicians who are suspicious of India's economic and political influence over the country. One of his first acts as president was to formally ask Indian troops to leave the Maldives. His government also refused to renew a naval cooperation pact with India, while allowing China to dock its "spy ships" in Maldivian waters. There was also a heated controversy a few months ago in which three of his government ministers published social media posts that were seen as insulting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Could relations between the two countries improve?

However, there have also been positive signs in the bilateral relationship. India recently exported large quantities of essential commodities such as sugar and onions to the Maldives, despite having placed restrictions on the export of these items. Maldivian foreign minister Moosa Zameer publicly thanked India for the gesture.

And in a recent interview, Muizzu called India his country's closest ally and requested help in restructuring his country’s debt to India. With Muizzu’s position at home now secure, India will look to see if this trend continues.

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