Adam Azim, representing the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), has emerged victorious in the Malé City Mayoral race, according to preliminary results. Azim holds a significant lead over former Attorney General Aishath Azima Shakoor, who ran as the candidate for the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC).

With 41 of the 55 ballot boxes counted, Azim has garnered 45% of the votes, while Azima Shakoor trails with only 29%. Given the low voter turnout observed, it appears unlikely that Azima will bridge the gap.

Mohamed Saif Fathih of The Democrats is currently third with 1,634 votes. Independent candidates Hussain Waheed, endorsed by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, and Ali Shuaib have received 1,326 and 91 votes respectively.

This win marks the first major electoral success for the MDP since their back-to-back victories in the 2018 presidential and 2019 parliamentary elections, the latter resulting in a historic supermajority in the parliament.

Saturday’s polling for the Mayoral race was characterised by a notably low turnout. Preliminary data from the Elections Commission of Maldives (ECM) indicates that only 40% of the 56,002 registered voters participated.

This trend of reduced voter engagement, especially in local council elections, echoes previous patterns. Low turnout was a significant factor in the MDP’s defeat in the last mayoral election, which led to Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s ascension as president, initiating a winning streak for the ruling coalition.

The mayoral vacancy arose following Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s resignation to become president in November 2023. Additionally, three council seats became vacant after councillors Abdulla Nasir (South Maafannu), Adam Rameez (Central Henveiru), and Fathimath Shamnaz Ali Saleem (South Henveiru) left to join the new administration.