A file picture of Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih EFE/EPA/FILE/M.A.PUSHPA KUMARA

Maldives presidential runoff between pro-China, pro-India candidates

New Delhi, Sep 30 (EFE).- The people of Maldives on Saturday turned out to vote in the runoff of its presidential elections, contested between the current president and the opposition leader, known for their pro-India and pro-China positions, respectively.

The runoff between current President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldivian Democratic Party and Mohamed Muizu of the opposition coalition PPM-PNC comes after none of the eight candidates in the first round of elections managed to secure the required 50 percent of votes polled.

In the first round on Sep. 9, Solih obtained 39 percent of the votes while Muizzu got 46 percent of the popular support.

The elections have been underway normally, although the Maldivian police have reported at least a dozen arrests for taking photos of ballots.

President Solih cast his vote at Jamaaluddin School in the capital city of Male, his office said in a statement.

At least half of the approximate 300,000 eligible voters are allied to some political party, while the other half are considered ‘indecisive’ and are expected to decide the outcome of the elections.

These elections are also being seen as a sort of referendum on the country’s foreign policy, with feelings driven mainly by nationalism and allegations against each party of compromising their sovereignty while making alliances with China and India, the two major powers in the region.

The Maldives development agreements, as well as security alliances over the sea, have swayed between the influence of China and India for years.

Elected presidents are more or less likely to maintain relations with one of the rival powers that have been seeking to expand their power over the Indo-Pacific.

While Solih is seen as pro-India in his stance, Muizzu is known to be inclined towards Beijing, with his alliance running an “India Out” campaign. EFE

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