Elections Maldives | 11 October 2023

Maldives: New president elected in second round

Show: false / Country: Maldives /

As BBC News reported on 1 October 2023, voters in the Maldives elected a new president in the second round of elections: Malé mayor Mohamed Muizzu.

World Watch Research (WWR) analyst Thomas Muller explains: “While the fact that Muizzu beat incumbent President Mohamed Solih with a relatively comfortable 54% may come as a surprise, it should not be overlooked that Solih’s MDP party still holds the majority of seats in parliament. That means that when Muizzu takes up office on 17 November he may face quite a bumpy road, at least at first. And while presidents in recent years usually called for moderation when it comes to religious matters, Muizzu had actively looked for support from conservative Islamic groups, which he will now need to accommodate. Accommodating such groups fits in with what a long-time country expert for the Maldives recently told WWR:

Continuing a trend in the social and religious milieus, the country has seen a growing slow shift toward a more Arabized form of Islam: more Arabic language use, doing things in a more Arabic way. As a result, there is less expression of unique island culture, less opportunity to be themselves, with more pressure to copy Arab-style Islam. This goes with a slow growing shift to being more Islamic as a nation.

It is clear that each and every government will continue to ensure that the Maldives remain 100% Islamic and that there will be no room granted for other religions, let alone conversions to Christianity or to any other non-Islamic belief.”


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