The presidential poll with India and China on the ballot
A run-off election will be held on 30 September in the island nation of about 1,200 coral islands and atolls in the middle of the Indian Ocean between President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and his opposition candidate Mohamed Muizzu.
India and China are also on the ballot.
The strategically located islands straddle busy east-west shipping lanes and are being sought after by both countries.
Each of Maldives’ two presidential contenders represents a different Asian power, and have been traveling by planes and boats to canvass voters.
Mr Solih of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) strengthened ties with India following his surprise win in 2018. China should have better relations with the Progressive Alliance coalition, according to Muizzu.
In the past, the Maldives have been a part of India’s sphere of influence. By maintaining its presence there, Delhi is able to monitor a key part of the Indian Ocean. With its rapidly expanding naval forces, China would want access to such a strategically important location – something India wants to prevent. Also, Beijing wants to protect its energy supplies from the Gulf.
For infrastructure and development projects, Delhi and Beijing have given the Maldives hundreds of millions of dollars.
This election, however, seems to favor China.