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Maldives ruling party seeking to delay official election result

The ruling party has alleged fraud in the presidential election.



The Maldives ruling party is seeking to delay the announcement of the official election results alleging fraud, the head of the election body said Wednesday.

“The Progressive Party of the Maldives has raised some concerns and asked the commission to delay the announcement of the official results,” Ahmed Shareef said.

“The commission has not decided yet on this. We can’t delay the announcement beyond the lawful deadline which is within seven days of the election. So that is Sunday.

“The commission has not been briefed on the nature of the complaints yet, but there are allegations of fraud from what I understand,” he told the Maldives Independent.

“But so far, all observers and political actors have said that the election went smoothly without any major problems. Right now, I do not see any complaint that would affect the outcome of the election, but we will have to see what the complaint is.”

The Maldives Independent contacted senior PPM figures to ask what the party was doing but their phones were switched off.

Abdulla Yameen, whose government presided over rights abuses and erosion of freedoms that triggered sanctions from the European Union and the threat of sanctions from the US, was ousted from power in last Sunday’s election.

He conceded defeat to his opponent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who won 38,484 more votes than him.

Earlier Wednesday opposition spokesman and lawmaker Ahmed Mahloof said there were credible reports that Yameen’s legal affairs minister was in the High Court trying to unlawfully annul the result.

High Court spokesman Ameen Faisal said that no case regarding the election had been filed. There was no activity at the High Court or Supreme Court. Supreme Court spokesman Faisal Adam said he had no information about a case regarding the election being filed.

There was one police officer at the entrance of the EC. The Maldives Independent asked if Shareef was inside. “This is not an information counter,” the policeman replied.

Even before the provisional results were announced, Shareef said there were no complaints or irregularities that could affect the outcome.

Local media reported that Shareef faced arrest for rigging the vote.

“I haven’t done anything to warrant my arrest. EC didn’t do anything to rig the elections. These accusations are baseless. I’ve always been saying that,” Avas quoted him as saying.

He also denied the rumour to Mihaaru, telling the newspaper he had done nothing illegal.

According to election law, the official result must be announced within seven days. The period is for a verification process once all ballot boxes are sent back to EC headquarters in the capital.

There were about 262,000 eligible voters and 472 ballot boxes, including five in four overseas locations.

It was the third multi-party presidential election in the Maldives.

In 2013 the Supreme Court annulled the first-round vote, despite unanimous positive assessment of the polling by more than a thousand local and international election observers.

The intervention was followed by two weeks of street protests, strikes, travel warnings and rumblings of concern from the military top brass.