Maldives president challenges election defeat

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has filed a court challenge against his election loss, citing a “lot of complaints from supporters”, according to a lawyer.

The complaint was filed at the island nation’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, said the president’s lawyer, Mohamed Saleem.

Yameen lost the September 23 election by a 16 percent margin to opposition leader, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, in an outcome hailed as a win for democracy in the crisis-hit Indian Ocean archipelago.

The result was widely accepted, including by the United States, China, India, and the European Union.

Yameen conceded defeat a day after the election, but has since alleged widespread irregularities in the vote.

The president has offered little evidence to back his claim. 

WATCH: Maldives opposition claims presidential election victory (2:27)

Saleem, the president’s lawyer, told a pro-government television station that Yameen filed a “constitutional case” at the top court “after reviewing a lot of complaints from his supporters about the result of the vote”.

He declined to reveal details of the case, saying he will file documentary evidence and witness statements at the court.

Saleem confirmed submitting the case to Al Jazeera, but did not clarify if the president was seeking to overturn the election results.

Mariya Ahmed Didi, spokesperson for president-elect Solih, said Yameen must respect the results. 

“The people’s word on the matter is final,” she said. 

A spokesman for the Supreme Court said judges have not made a decision on accepting the case yet. 

Ahmed Mahloof, an opposition politician, urged the security forces to prepare to defend the election results.

“Do not mess with the people’s decision,” he warned the president in a post on Twitter.

Both the army and the police have previously said they will uphold the results of the vote. 

In a statement on Tuesday, the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) said it was seeking legal recourse through the courts because the party has “been overwhelmed with numerous genuine concerns related to the elections, including serious allegations of vote rigging, fraud, malpractice and corruption”. 

The elections commission has previously dismissed the allegations as “false”, saying it only received 423 minor complaints about the election. 

The commission also said its staff have been “constantly” targeted with “threatening calls and messages” since the vote. 


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