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Maldives votes in election key to its India, China relations

21/4/2024 16:36
        Voters in the Maldives were flocking to the polls on Sunday in a parliamentary election that may determine whether the Indian Ocean island nation continues its shift toward China and away from its longstanding ties with India.
        
        Beijing and New Delhi have both wooed the Maldives as the two giants vie for influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
        
        President Mohamad Muizzu, elected last year, has pledged to end the country's "India First" policy, putting relations under strain. His government has asked dozens of locally based Indian military personnel to leave in a move critics warn could see the Maldives shift closer to China.
        
        Muizzu's post as president is not affected by Sunday's vote.
        
        His ruling People's National Congress has asked voters to elect a majority that will swiftly fulfil his presidential campaign pledges.
        
        Opposition parties, criticising Muizzu's government on areas including foreign policy and the economy, are seeking a majority that can hold his government accountable.
        



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