Dr. Muizzu wins 2023 presidential election

Opposition PPM-PNC’s presidential candidate Dr. Mohamed Muizzu attends a campaign rally in Male' City on September 29, 2023. (Sun Photo/Ibrahim Shamveel)

Preliminary results place the opposition PPM-PNC’s presidential candidate Dr. Mohamed Muizzu as the winner of the 2023 presidential election.

282,804 people were eligible to vote in the election runoff held on Saturday. The turnout was 86 percent – which is higher than the 79 percent in the first round – the lowest in a presidential election.

Preliminary results place Muizzu in the lead with 53.8 percent of votes. MDP’s Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the incumbent president, trailed seven points behind, with 46.2 percent.

Muizzu had also been the frontrunner in the first round of voting held on September 9, winning 46 percent of the votes. MDA, which had initially been aligned with the MDP, had withdrawn their support to the main ruling party after the first round, and endorsed Muizzu instead.

MNP, which also contested the election in the first round, also partnered with the PPM-PNC.

Other parties and independent candidates decided against picking either side in the runoff.

The PPM-PNC coalition had originally produced former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom – who was unseated by President Solih in the 2018 election - as their candidate.

However, Yameen’s candidacy was rejected due to his conviction for money laundering and bribery in the sale of V. Aarah.

After Yameen lost the bid to contest his disqualifications with the Supreme Court, the PPM-PNC joint senate took a secret vote, which Muizzu won by a slim margin, beating his rival, PNC’s deputy leader and top lawmaker Adam Shareef Umar, by just two votes.

After losing the court battle, Yameen sent a note, instructing the PPM-PNC leadership to consider boycotting the election.

However, the joint senate decided against boycotting the election, after which Yameen decided to accept the decision, and endorsed Muizzu.

Muizzu had been serving as the mayor of Male’ City when he ran for presidency. With his victory, the office of the mayor has now become vacant.