The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives has challenged the results of the September 23 election at the Supreme Court.
The “constitutional case” was based on numerous complaints from supporters, Mohamed ‘Reynis’ Saleem from the PPM’s legal team told the pro-government Channel 13 on Wednesday afternoon.
President Abdulla Yameen decided to file the case for the sake of his supporters, said Saleem, who is also the president’s appointee to the judicial watchdog.
He declined to reveal the legal grounds for challenging the result. Documentary evidence and witness statements will be presented at court, he said.
It is unclear if the Supreme Court has accepted the case. Elections Commission chief Ahmed Shareef told the Maldives Independent he has not been informed so far.
In a press statement, the PPM said complaints from election observers, monitors and the public were examined by legal experts and submitted to the police.
The decision to “seek legal recourse through the Supreme Court and High Court was taken in accordance with the response by the [Maldives Police Service],” it added.
“The party has been overwhelmed with numerous genuine concerns related to the elections, including serious allegations of vote rigging, fraud, malpractice and corruption.”
The PPM council decided to file the case in order to “uphold the electoral right” of its candidate and running mate as well as the rights of the party’s members and the 96,000 people who voted for the president.
The legal challenge comes after nightly protests by the PPM over alleged bribery and undue influence over the independent electoral body.
The EC dismissed the “unsubstantiated allegations” and stressed there were no irregularities or complaints that could affect the outcome of the election, which the joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won decisively with a record 38,000-vote margin.
A week after conceding defeat, Yameen claimed at the first PPM protest that he should have received more than 96,000 votes (42 percent).
According to the election law, the High Court can be petitioned if there was undue influence, bribery or breaches of electoral laws and regulations.
The court could annul the election if irregularities are proven “and the court determines that due to that, the results of the election could change.”