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Yameen files petition challenging poll loss

He claims it was rigged and that he has received ‘complaints’ from supporters
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen
Image credit: AFP

Reuters   |   Colombo   |   Published 10.10.18, 07:04 PM

The president of the Maldives, Abdulla Yameen, filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, challenging his defeat in last’s month election in the island nation, which has been in political upheaval since the declaration of emergency this year.

Yameen conceded defeat after an official count showed joint opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had polled 16.8 per cent more votes in a surprise result.

But Opposition members have worried about a smooth transition of power, due on November 17. Yameen’s supporters had complained about rigging of votes and fraudulent ballot papers, his lawyer Mohamed Saleem told reporters after approaching the top court.

“There are a lot of complaints from supporters,” he said.

“We decided to submit the case after going through those complaints. President Yameen did not want to let this go as the concern is about the rights of his supporters.”

Critics are wary of Yameen, who ran the islands with an iron hand, jailing political opponents and Supreme Court justices. In February he declared a state of emergency to annul a court ruling that quashed the convictions of nine opposition leaders, including former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Complaints about the election result came from voters as well as monitors, Yameen’s Progressive Party of Maldives said in a statement.

The Election Commission said the vote had been free and fair, with turnout of 89.2 per cent.

The Maldives, located near key shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean, has become important as China and India compete for influence in the region. China is engaged in building up the islands’ infrastructure as part of its

Belt and Road Initiative to boost trade and transport links across Asia. Constitutionally, Yameen can remain in office till November 17 when he has to hand over to Solih, barring any last minute court intervention.

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