Will Komandoo Bye Poll Mark end of India Out Campaign in Maldives?


Maldives ruling party the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) convincingly won the Komandoo by-election.

Announcing the official results of the election on February 07, EC’ chairman Fuad Thaufeeq said the commission received nine election-related complaints. Fuad said that “The members of the Elections Commission certainly believe that compared to the events that took place during the presidential election, the by-election went very smoothly.”

Three candidates contested the Komandoo by-election; MDP’s Mohamed Rashid, PPM’s Moosa Fathuhy and MNP’s Abdul Hannan Idrees.

The official results announced by EC on Monsay show Rashid won the election with 1,441 votes. His closest rival, Fathuhy won 1,161 votes, while Hannan won 323 votes.

The margin of almost 300 votes by which MDP candidate Mohamen Rashid won the elections indicates that he has overwhelming support.

The opposition PPM had made “India Out,” a Central issue during the elections and it is clear that the people at large are not backing the high visibility campaign led by former President Abdulla Yameen.

While the Bye elections results are a set back to the PPM and Mr Yameen this is not likely to lead to the opposition in Maldives abandoning the "India Out," campaign despite the sign that it does not enjoy popular support.

On the other hand the government and the MDP may now abandon the plan for bringing a legislation against launching campaingn as India Out which affect relations with neighbours as defeating the same through the people is more convincing and sustainable.

Background

India Out campaign in Maldives is supported by only, one party that is the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the former President Abdullah Yameen.

Yameen Abdul Gayoom released in November launched an 'India Out' campaign touring atolls.

This is vitriolic with Gayoom claiming, "If they [India] are here to protect interests, then the government should be able to reveal what's in the agreements," and Maldivian people wanted Indian military personnel out of their country. "There isn't anyone who believes there isn't Indian military presence in Maldives. The government has expressed concern over anti-India propaganda on grounds of the impact of spreading hatred and false allegations and the safety and security of citizens in Maldives and Maldivians living abroad.

Gayoom has called for a public opinion poll to identify views regarding the stationing of Indian military personnel in the Maldives will this be held in 2022 remains to be seen.

The MDP though inclined towards India has maintained a reasonable balance indicating that it will uphold the 'One-China' policy in a recent interaction in December

between the Ambassador of China to the Maldives Wang Lixin and Vice President Faisal Naseem.

Jumhoory Party (JP) joined government coalition partner Adhaalath Party (AP) in condemning the ‘India Out’ campaign headed by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to protest against Indian military presence in Maldives as per Sun Online.

A JP Statement indicated that as Parliament has not approved any part of Maldives to be given for military purposes of a foreign country, it found the opposition’s allegations on Indian military presence in Maldives lacked any legal basis as per Sun Online. “Describing the activities on unarmed foreign military personnel as a military activity is something opposition parties often do for political purposes. There’s therefore ample ground to believe the campaign under the slogan ‘India Military Out’ is undertaken by the opposition in order to fulfil a specific political objective,” said JP.



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