Voting begins in Maldives parliamentary elections amid expectations from India and China

Voters in the Maldives cast their decisive vote for President Mohamed Moisu in parliamentary elections on Sunday. India and China, which compete for influence in the region, are closely monitoring the president’s policies.

Both countries are trying to establish a foothold in the Maldives, which is strategically located on the Indian Ocean.

Moizo’s election as president last year intensified tensions between India and China as the new leader took a pro-China stance and sought to remove Indian troops from one of the country’s small islands. .

It will be difficult for Moiso to win a parliamentary majority as more parties enter the race and some allies drop out.

Six political parties and independent groups fielded 368 candidates for 93 parliamentary seats. This means that there will be six more seats than in the previous parliament, after adjustments have been made to account for population growth.

About 284,000 people are eligible to vote, and preliminary results are expected to be announced later Sunday.

Moiso made the slogan “India Out” a central theme of his campaign, accusing his predecessor of giving India too much influence and violating its national sovereignty.

At least 75 Indian military personnel are stationed in the Maldives, and their only known activity is piloting two aircraft donated by India to help people stranded at sea or face disaster. Although the mission was to assist in the rescue of people, Moiso took steps to have civilians take on these activities.

When Indian activists began boycotting Maldives tourism on social media, three Maldives deputy ministers raised the idea of ​​promoting tourism in Lakshadweep, an Indian archipelago similar to the Maldives. , relations became even more strained. Derogatory remarks against Indian Prime Minister Narendra. Mr. Modi.

According to recent Maldivian government statistics, the country has fallen from first to sixth place for foreign tourists due to a decline in the number of Indian tourists.

Moiso visited China earlier this year and negotiated an increase in tourists and flights from China.

In 2013, the Maldives joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build ports and highways to expand trade across Asia, Africa and Europe.

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