Ibrahim Mohamed Solih

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Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
އިބްރާހީމް މުޙައްމަދު ޞާލިޙް
Ibrahim Mohamed Solih official portrait.jpg
Official portrait, 2018
President of the Maldives
Assumed office
17 November 2018
Vice PresidentFaisal Naseem
Preceded byAbdulla Yameen
Member of Parliament
for Hinnavaru
In office
28 May 2009 – 16 November 2018
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byJeehan Mahmood
Member of Parliament
for Lhaviyani Atoll
In office
1994 – 27 May 2009
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1962-03-01) 1 March 1962 (age 60)
Hinnavaru, Maldives
Political partyMaldivian Democratic Party (after 2003)
SpouseFazna Ahmed
Children2
ResidenceMulee'aage (official)

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Dhivehi: އިބްރާހީމް މުޙައްމަދު ޞާލިޙް; Arabic: إبراهيم محمد صالح; born 1 March 1962),[1] better known as Ibu (އިބޫ),[2] is a Maldivian politician[3] and the president of the Maldives since 17 November 2018.

Solih was first elected to the People's Majlis in 1994, aged 30, as the MP from his home atoll of Faadhippolhu. Solih played a leading role in the formation of the Maldivian Democratic Party[4] (MDP) and the Maldives Political Reform Movement from 2003 until 2008, which led to the country adopting a new modern constitution and multiparty democracy for the first time in its history. Solih was also a senior member of parliament[5] and the Special Majlis. A founding member of the Maldivian Democratic Party, Solih was elected as President of Maldives on 23 September 2018 following the 2018 Maldives presidential election.[6]

Early and personal life[edit]

Solih was born on Hinnavaru Island but moved to the Maldives' capital, Malé at a young age for education, and he has been a resident since.[citation needed] He is one of 13 children.[citation needed] Solih completed his secondary education at Majeedhiyya School, Malé.[citation needed] During his school days, he was a popular student and took part in several school activities, which especially applied to sports.[7] He is the first ever president of Maldives who never sought any further education than his secondary education. He is married to Fazna Ahmed and they have a daughter named Sarah and a son named Yaman.[8]

Solih is one of the closest friends of former President Mohamed Nasheed, who is also the first cousin of Solih's wife Fazna. Solih and President Nasheed played an instrumental role in establishing multiparty democracy in the Maldives. After three years into his presidency, the relations between Solih and Nasheed deteriorated due to ideological disputes within their party.[9]Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has been a senior figure in the party and lead the first Parliamentary Group of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in 2009 until he was elected as the president of Maldives in 2018.[7]

Political career[edit]

Solih has been the parliamentary group leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) since 2011.[10] He has also served as the leader of the joint parliamentary group since the opposition coalition was formed in March 2017.

Solih was selected as the new presidential candidate[11] for the coalition of opposition parties in the 2018 election, when former president Mohamed Nasheed, due to his prior conviction, was not able to contest as a candidate for presidential election.[12]

Solih went on to claim an upset victory over Yameen, winning the election with 58.4% of the vote[13] and receiving nearly 38,500 votes more than his opponent. In the run-up to the election, many foreign observers had asserted that the election could be rigged in Yameen's favor and that he was thus likely to win a second term. However, when the counting of ballots was nearing completion on election night, President Yameen addressed the nation and conceded the election to Solih,[13] this being a few hours after the latter had claimed victory and urged the president for a peaceful transition of power.[14]

The main issue of the campaign has widely been recognized as the question of whether the Maldives should continue to pursue closer relations with the People's Republic of China, as it had under the Yameen presidency, or whether it should instead turn to India and the countries of the Western world (especially the United States), which is a direction more favoured by the MDP-led opposition coalition.[13]

Presidency[edit]

Solih on the campaign trail as the opposition's presidential candidate in 2018

Solih assumed office on 17 November 2018, following the end of Abdulla Yameen’s 5-year term. Solih became the 7th President of the Maldives, and the country's third democratically elected president (following Mohamed Nasheed and Abdulla Yameen) since Nasheed unseated Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in the 2008 election, ending the latter's 30-year long, six-term incumbency. Solih is the first Maldivian president to be born outside the capital of Malé, as well as the second-oldest person to assume the presidency, at the age of 54 (with only Mohamed Waheed Hassan being older when taking office).[7]

On 19 November, Solih announced that the Maldives would rejoin the Commonwealth of Nations, a decision recommended by his Cabinet, considering that the Maldives was a republic in the Commonwealth of Nations from 1982 to 2016.[15] President Solih became a Commonwealth head of government and a Commonwealth head of state when the Maldives returned to the Commonwealth on 1 February 2020.[16]

His government also sought to pursue closer relations with India. This was contrary to Former President, Abdulla Yameen pursued closer relations with China, implicating India. President Solih reaffirmed the country’s previous "India-First Policy" stance in regards to the country’s foreign affairs.[17]

In the April 2019 Maldivian parliamentary election, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won in a landslide victory, winning 65 of 87 seats in the parliament. This was the first time a single party was able to get a supermajority in the Maldivian history.[18]

Government sexual harassment cases[edit]

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's administration faced public criticism after the President's Office Communication's Director Hassan Ismail was accused of sexual harassment by local journalist Rae Munavvar.[19] In June 2020, Solih's niece MP Jeehan Mahmood's husband was accused of sexual assault of a Kenyan woman, the state prosecutor raising charges on 11 January 2021.[20] In August 2021, Solih's Tourism Minister Ali Waheed was charged with seven counts of sexual harassment.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Social media frenzy: When is the President's birthday?". SunOnline International. 1 January 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Who is Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, president-elect of the Maldives?". The Hindu. 24 September 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  3. ^ "The race of his life: An introduction to the Maldives' latest presidential hopeful". Maldivesindependent.com. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Ibrahim Mohamed Solih – Maldivian Democratic Party". Mdp.org.mv. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  5. ^ "People's Majlis – Chair announces Majority and Minority Leaders of the 18th People's Majlis". Majlis.gov.mv. Archived from the original on 24 December 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Maldives election: Opposition defeats China-backed Abdulla Yameen". BBC News. 24 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Ayubowan Ibu! The new President of Maldives for a New Era in Democracy". YourTambapanni. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "The race of his life: An introduction to the Maldives' latest presidential hopeful". Maldives Independent. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Nasheed announces political separation with President Solih". The Times of Addu. 12 July 2021. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  10. ^ "Ibrahim Mohamed Solih". Maldivian Democratic Party. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  11. ^ Junayd, Mohamed (30 June 2018). "Maldives opposition selects veteran Ibrahim Solih for Sept presidential poll". Reuters. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  12. ^ "MP Ibu declared MDP's Presidential Candidate". En.mihaaru.com. Archived from the original on 16 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  13. ^ a b c "Maldives election: Opposition defeats China-backed Abdulla Yameen". BBC News. 24 September 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Maldives election: Ibrahim Mohamed Solih claims victory". BBC News. 23 September 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Maldives to participate in the Commonwealth again". The Presidency. 19 November 2018.
  16. ^ "Maldives becomes 54th member of Commonwealth family". February 2020.
  17. ^ "Maldives Shock Election: China's Loss and India's Win?".
  18. ^ "Majlis 19: An overview in numbers".
  19. ^ "'I Was Sexually Harassed By a Senior Advisor to the Maldives President. This is My Story.'". The Wire. p. https://thewire.in/south-asia/i-was-sexually-harassed-by-a-senior-advisor-to-the-maldives-president-this-is-my-story.
  20. ^ "State Charges Ruling Party MP's Spouse With Sexual Assasult". themaldivesjournal.com. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  21. ^ "BREAKING: Supreme Court sentences alleged sexual offender Ali Waheed to jail". The Times of Addu. 11 August 2021. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
Political offices
Preceded by President of the Maldives
2018–present
Incumbent