Most foreign news headlines before the Maldives went to the polls in September were about a rivalry between India and China for regional influence. We can expect a similar tone over the coming weeks as preparations begin for president-elect Mohamed Muizzu to formally take over the presidency from the incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in November.
Muizzu won comfortably over Solih, receiving 54% of the votes in the run-off on 30 September. The number of eligible voters was more than 282,000, and 85% of them turned out to cast their votes.
The second round was needed as the first round of voting on 9 September produced no clear winner. Muizzu led round one by securing 46% of votes, Solih received 39%, while the remaining six candidates failed to impress.
The margin of Muizzu's lead made it clear which way the wind was blowing in the archipelago nation known for its beautiful beaches and top-end holiday resorts popular among honeymooners.
While the president-elect is portrayed as pro-China and his rival as someone unapologetically attached to India, much more is at stake in the Maldives than mere geopolitics.