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Maldives elections chief mocks ex-president’s vote rigging claims

Yameen continued to blame his heavy defeat on voter fraud.



Elections Commission chief Ahmed Shareef on Sunday mocked former president Abdulla Yameen for repeating “fictitious” claims of fraud in September’s polls.

In an interview with The Press, Yameen continued to blame his heavy defeat on alleged vote rigging by the EC, accusing the five-member electoral body of blocking investigation of suspected wrongdoing, such as the decision to contract M7 to print ballot papers despite more security features proposed by the second bidder.

Yameen told the online paper that he had expected to win with at least 65 percent of the vote based on the support he saw during campaign trips.

Responding on Twitter, Shareef shared a screenshot of the article and suggested it should be “submitted to the short story writing competition.”

Despite initially conceding defeat, Yameen had petitioned the Supreme Court to annul the September 23 election. But the apex court ruled there was no evidence to to prove any of the alleged rigging methods would have changed the 38,000-vote margin.

The much-derided claims included a pen with disappearing ink and a chemical that was applied to the ballot paper to make checkmarks disappear. Elections officials were also accused of using a ring with a secret pen to discreetly mark blank ballot papers, which was allegedly done while they stacked and counted ballots in front of observers and monitors.

Shareef’s tweet on Sunday drew criticism from opposition supporters. It raised questions about the independence of the commission, former MP Abdulla Khaleel tweeted.

But Shareef said “false claims about the EC’s work” needed to be refuted, adding that the commission does not respond to other statements by Yameen or the former ruling party.

“The EC announces results of votes based on how the people voted, not by looking at the number of people who gather at places,” EC member Ahmed Akram tweeted.