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President Yameen insists EC chief was influenced after leaked audio

Fathmath Shaahunaz
02 October 2018, MVT 11:36
President Abdulla Yameen speaks to the press during the PPM protest held October 1, 2018 over an audio leaked of EC's President Ahmed Shareef. PHOTO/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
02 October 2018, MVT 11:36

The recently leaked audio of a phone call between Elections Commission (EC)'s chief Ahmed Shareef and an unknown individual, proved that the electoral watchdog had been influenced, declared President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom late on Monday night.

The president made the accusation during the rally held by ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), protesting against the EC and calling for Shareef's arrest after the audio was leaked earlier the same day.

The audio clip, which was leaked on social media, depicted Shareef talking to an unidentified individual he referred to as "Saa". As the audio appears to have been highly edited, the full context of the conversation is unclear. However, the unknown caller repeatedly expressed fear and that they "would be done for" if people found out about something. Shareef's responses were to "pretend to know nothing", and he assured the person that if they "denied it, the police cannot prove it". Shareef also reassured the person that their fingerprints could not be found.

While Shareef has defended himself, saying that the audio clip had been edited and manipulated to mix up his words "to generate another meaning", President Yameen declared during the PPM protest that Shareef would not have spoken such words had the EC been free of undue influence.

The president added that he should have received more than 96,000 votes in the Presidential Election held September 23, implying that the lack of votes inferred that the election had not been free and fair.

President Yameen lost his bid for re-election by a wide margin of 38,000 votes, with the opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih winning the election with over 134,000 votes in his favour.

While the president had conceded defeat the day after polling and assured he would respect the people's decision, PPM took to the streets after the leaked audio of Shareef's phone call. President Yameen joined the protest for the first time and maintained that the EC has been proven to be corrupt.

He proclaimed that there were major concerns regarding the election, and called for protests across the country to hold EC accountable.

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