President-elect Mohamed Muizzu has stated that every Maldivian citizen, regardless of who they voted for or their political affiliation, is equal and possesses equal rights to freedom and justice. Muizzu, the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)-endorsed People’s National Congress (PNC) candidate and Malé Mayor, made this statement while acknowledging his victory over the incumbent Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, in the second-round runoff of the presidential election. Though the Elections Commission (EC) is yet to announce the official interim result, Muizzu’s win over Solih is statistically all but assured.

Muizzu, in his first speech since the election victory, was quick to call on Solih to relocate former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to his residence as Yameen serves out his sentence for corruption and money laundering. Yameen was handed an 11-year prison sentence by the Criminal Court, along with a US$ 1 million fine, which he is currently appealing at the High Court.

The president has within his powers to initiate the process Muizzu highlighted, going on to say that such an action would reflect the larger sentiment of the public.

Muizzu, while expressing gratitude to the nation for the trust they have placed in him, said that transparency would be a hallmark of his administration, and pledged to work speedily to deliver on his promises and address the needs of the people. He also went on to thank senior PPM/PNC officials as well as officials from the Maldives National Party (MNP), his advisors, the public and the media for playing a ‘responsible’ role in holding him to account while also clearing up misconceptions.

An official celebration of the results will be held tomorrow night, Muizzu said.

As the nation awaits the official interim results, Muizzu advised supporters to exercise calm and restraint even as the nation anticipates a change of government. As highlighted earlier by the EC, even with the president-elect being announced tonight, there remain legal restrictions that prevent activities that would be construed as campaigning. As such he had been tentative in his approach to addressing the nation even after he had consulted with the elections body, Muizzu said.

While it is now a virtual statistical certainty that Muizzu will officially be announced president-elect once the interim results are final, both contestants will have to wait until EC makes their official declaration after all the votes are tallied and verified.

Meanwhile, incumbent President Solih has conceded defeat in the election. In a post on X (formerly Twitter), he congratulated Muizzu on his election victory and thanked the people for the democratic example shown during the election. He also expressed gratitude to all those who supported and voted for him, including members of the MDP and its coalition partner, Adhaalath Party.

MDP chairperson Fayyaz Ismail also congratulated Muizzu and his running mate Hussain Mohamed Latheef on their win in the election. “As the opposition MDP will continue to responsibly hold the government accountable and ensure the protection of democratic principles in the Maldives,” he said in a post on X.

Additional writing by Ibrahim Inaan