President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has ramped up the election rhetoric by questioning how Malé Mayor Mohamed Muizzu, who claims that the country has faced bankruptcy during the Solih presidency, intends to fund the proposed developments and changes within his term if elected. Muizzu, the Progressive Party of the Maldives endorsed People’s National Congress (PPM/PNC) candidate, is Solih’s main rival and they will go head-to-head in the second round of the presidential elections scheduled for 30 September – Muizzu had led Solih by seven percent of the vote in the first round.

“One side is saying bankruptcy. The other side is doubling the salaries of various institutions. The other side is saying rentals will be cut. Is this possible?” the second term hopeful asked during remarks made at the Maldivian Democratic Party’s ‘Sosun’ campaign office on Saturday night.

Such promises are being made without any plans and the aim is to deceive the people and win the election, and then spread injustice and dread throughout the Maldives, Solih said while also calling on people to not allow that to happen.

Likening the presidential election to a football match, Solih said he would end the second half with a huge victory even if he had faced defeat in the first. With Muizzu having secured 46 percent of the vote in the first round and Solih having garnered 39 percent, the incumbent will be facing the ‘second half’ of the presidential elections with a seven percent deficit if they cannot mobilise voters who did not turn out to vote in the first round or transfer a large chunk of opposition support their way before then. While the alliance of The Democrats, with seven percent of the vote in round one, seem to still be in play, the Maldives National Party (MNP) fronted Mohamed Nazim, who garnered just one percent, has already thrown their support to PPM/PNC while Qasim Ibrahim’s Jumhooree Party (JP), with three percent of the votes, has taken its support for either off the table. 

The president characterised his position currently as being 3 – 1 down at halftime.

“Hopefully we will come out in the second half and score two more goals [than the opposition] and win the match by five goals,” he said.

Extending the metaphor even further, Solih went on to state that he was now in the changing room at half-time planning the rest of the match by rearranging, and transferring, players to better positions and promoting other strong players.

“We are going on attack mode now. Hopefully we will score goals next. Goal after goal,” he said.

Hinting at initial missteps, Solih said some things had been overlooked in the first round of voting, citing these reasons for his failure to secure victory. He urged voters to re-register, noting that many had failed to vote in the first round due to a lack of re-registration.

“Many had stayed home in the first round because they were confident that the peace and security they had enjoyed over the past five years would continue,” the second term hopeful said, “but that with the first round results now in, those who had stayed home would come out and vote as they do not want past injustices to be repeated.”

“The whole of Malé has come together here. Hopefully we will win this election by a large margin,” Solih said.