The Maldives is made up of 26 coral atolls and 1,192 islands, and tourism is a vital part of its economy. More than 400,000 people live there but its future hangs in the balance due to climate change.

Opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won the Maldives’ presidential election, results showed Monday, a surprise defeat for President Abdulla Yameen following a campaign  observers said was rigged in the strongman’s favour.

Results released by the Elections Commission early Monday morning showed Solih had secured 58.3 percent of the popular vote.

Mr Solih leans towards India is a known factor and he  said his win was “a moment of happiness, a moment of hope” and urged a peaceful transition of power for the Indian Ocean archipelago.

He said he had won by a 16% margin over Mr Yameen, with 92% of votes counted.

The head of Mr Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party said the result would “bring the country back to the democratic path”.  

Observers had believed the election though was rigged in favour of Mr Yameen, who favours closer ties with China,  and int he past  President Yameen’s government stands accused of crushing dissent. Even Police raided opposition headquarters on the eve of the vote

Congratulating Solih over his thumping victory, India stated that the poll not only marks the triumph of democratic forces in the South Asian country, but also reflects the firm commitment to the values of democracy and the rule of law.


“We welcome the successful completion of the third Presidential election process in the Maldives which, according to preliminary information, Mr. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has won. We heartily congratulate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on his victory and hope that the Election Commission will officially confirm the result at the earliest,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a press statement.

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Ibu) is a Maldivian politician , who is the President-elect of the Maldives, due to take office on 17 November 2018, after having defeated incumbent Abdulla Yameen in the 2018 presidential election.

He was first elected to parliament in 1994, aged 30, as the MP from his home atoll of Faadhihpolhu (Lhaviyani).

Solih played a leading role in the formation of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Maldives Political Reform Movement from 2003 until 2008 – which led to the country adopting a new modern constitution and multiparty democracy for the first time in its history. 

Solih was also a senior member of parliament and the Special Majlis. Solih has been the Parliamentary Group Leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) since 2011

He has also served as the leader of the joint parliamentary group since the opposition coalition was formed in March 2017.

Under Mr Yameen, the Maldives has also welcomed Chinese money for major projects and signed a free trade agreement. More tourists from China now visit the Maldives than from any other country.

Analysts say that Beijing fears any change in government that could affect its interests .