The outgoing president of the Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said on Sunday he was looking for allies to try to get re-elected in the second round of the presidential election, scheduled for September 30, after coming second the day before in the first round according to final results.
Mr. Solih, 61, obtained 86,161 votes (39.05%), behind his main rival, the capital's mayor Mohamed Muizzu, 45, who collected 101,635 votes (46.06%).
Ilyas Labeeb, breaking away from Mr Solih's party, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), came third with 15,839 votes (7.18%). He did not give any indication of support for any of the candidates who remain in the running.
“We need to ally ourselves with others,” Mr. Solih, who received 58.3 percent of the vote in the previous election, told reporters. He blamed “unforeseen factors” for his poor performance, without further details.
The outgoing president made the vote a de facto referendum on the archipelago's desire to renew its relations with India.
Mr. Muizzu is close to ex-president Abdulla Yameen (2013-2018), a supporter of rapprochement with China who advocates a reduction in economic and military ties with India.
Mr. Yameen, the main opposition figure, is serving an 11-year prison sentence after being convicted in December of corruption and money laundering. He was banned from running in the presidential election.
His party, the Progressive Party of the Maldives supports the mayor of Malé and former housing minister.
When he came to power after defeating Mr. Yameen, who had borrowed heavily from China for construction projects during his five years in power, Mr. Solih rushed to restore relations with New Delhi.
Eight candidates presented themselves in the first round in the Indian Ocean archipelago which has 1,192 coral islets spread over 800 km. Nearly 80% of the electorate of 282,000 people participated in the vote, compared to 90% in the 2018 presidential election.
Voting is also taking place in the southern Indian state of Kerala, as well as the capitals of Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Britain and the United Arab Emirates, where the Maldivian diaspora is large.
The Indian Ocean archipelago, popular for its luxury tourism, adopted a multi-party system in 2008, after having been administered by a single party since the end of its status as a British protectorate in 1965.
The Maldives is one of the countries most vulnerable to global warming, with 80% of the land less than one meter above sea level.
10/09/2023 19:35:46 - Malé (Maldives) (AFP) - © 2023 AFP