- Mohamed Muizzu was sworn in on Friday as the president of the Maldives, succeeding Ibrahim Solih.
- Muizzu, a conservative Islamist widely seen as sympathetic to China, defeated Solih in a landslide in September’s election.
- Muizzu promised at the inauguration that the “lines of independence and sovereignty of the archipelagic nation will be clearly drawn” and doubled down on a campaign promise to expel Indian troops from Maldivian soil.
Mohamed Muizzu was sworn in on Friday as the fifth democratically elected president of the Maldives and said he would ensure there would be no foreign military presence in the archipelago.
Muizzu, who is seen as pro-China, campaigned on a promise to expel Indian military personnel and balance trade, which he said was largely pro-India under his predecessor, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
“The lines of independence and sovereignty will be clearly drawn. The foreign military presence will be removed,” he said.
MALDIVES PRESIDENT SOLIH FACES 7 MORE CANDIDATES IN NEXT MONTH’S ELECTIONS
“I will maintain friendships with foreign countries. There will be no enmity, with countries near and far,” Muizzu said.
He said the right of the Maldives to set such limits should be respected.
Muizzu was sworn in by Chief Justice Us Ahmed Muthasim Adnan following his surprise victory in September’s presidential election.
The election was seen as a virtual referendum on which regional power – China or India – should have the most influence in the Indian Ocean archipelago.
The number of Indian troops in the Maldives is not publicly known. Critics say the secrecy in the deal between India and Solih’s government over the role and number of Indian military personnel has led to suspicion and rumours. The Indian military is known to operate two helicopters donated by India to help rescue people stranded or facing disasters at sea.
Solih was expected to win the election easily, with his main rival Abdulla Yameen ineligible to run after being jailed for corruption and Muizzu being chosen by his party as an alternative candidate.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Muizzu’s vice president, Hussain Mohamed Latheef, was sworn in as vice president.