Maldivian leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was trailing in Saturday’s presidential election, preliminary results showed, setting the stage for a snap election later this month.
Solih’s bid for a second term has turned into a referendum on his pursuit of new ties with India, the archipelagic nation’s traditional benefactor.
Preliminary results show Solih in second place with 39.1 percent of the vote, while his main rival, Male’ Mayor Mohammad Muizzu, is ahead with 46.08 percent.
Near midnight Saturday, and with less than 20,000 votes left to count, it was clear that no candidate could reach the absolute majority required for an outright victory.
The Election Commission has set September 30 as the date for the by-election between the first two candidates. The official announcement of the results is expected on Sunday.
Approximately 282,000 Maldivians over the age of 18 were eligible to vote. Election officials said final turnout was estimated at about 75 percent, compared with about 90 percent in the 2018 vote.