Maldivian joint opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
Maldivian joint opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih speaks to the media at the end of the presidential election day in Male, Maldives September 23, 2018. REUTERS/Ashwa Faheem

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who, according to all indications, has won the Maldivian presidential elections, virtually came out of nowhere to upset the applecart of the incumbent Abdullah Yameen.

The 54-year-old president-elect is expected to take the oath of office on November 17. His win will come as a huge relief to India as Yameen veered his country towards China and distanced itself from India, its traditional ally.

Solih had made his political debut on the national stage when he became a Member of Parliament in 1994. He played a pivotal role in the formation of the Maldivian Democratic Party and the Maldives Political Reform Movement from 2003 till 2008 and it was during this time that the country adopted a modern constitution and a multiparty democratic system for the first time in its history.

Solih and the former president, pro-India Mohamed Nasheed, are close friends and Nasheed is the first cousin of Solih's wife Fazna Ahmed.

Solih and Nasheed were at the forefront of establishing multiparty democracy in the Maldives. The president-elect is one of the senior figures in the MDP and led its first Parliamentary Group in 2009 and has been its chief since 2011.

He led the joint parliamentary group after the opposition formed a coalition in March 2017. Later, he was elected the presidential candidate for the coalition of opposition parties in 2018 after Nasheed declined to contest the elections.