MALE, Maldives, Sept 30, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - The Maldives began voting Saturday to decide their next president in a referendum on whether to hitch their fortunes to China or India, both vying for influence in the tropical paradise. Frontrunner Mohamed Muizzu, 45, has vowed closer ties with Beijing and a review of relations with India if he is elected. People began lining up across the archipelago, best known for its luxury beach resorts and celebrity tourists, to cast their ballots before voting began at 8:00 am (0300 GMT). Just over 282,000 people are eligible to vote before polls close at 5:00 pm, with results expected late Saturday or early Sunday. But his restoration of the Maldives' traditional posture has itself proved controversial, with many in the archipelago disapproving of India's outsized political and economic clout.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha September 30, 2023 04:20 UTC