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Belt and Road

Maldives election marks setback for China's Belt and Road

Beijing expected to move fast to court new India-leaning president

Supporters of Maldivian President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih celebrate in Male on Sept. 24.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI/BEIJING -- China's effort to extend its influence into the Indian Ocean has hit a stumbling block as Maldivians have rejected a leader who brought their country closer to Beijing in favor of an opposition candidate aligned with India and the U.S.

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih -- a 54-year-old member of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party -- won a landslide victory over President Abdulla Yameen in an election on Sept. 23 watched around the world. The island nation has risen in geopolitical importance for Beijing, New Delhi and Washington, given its strategic location on a sea lane linking the Middle East and East Asia.

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