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Elections Commission responds to graft accusations

Nafaahath Ibrahim
02 October 2018, MVT 13:23
A press conference held by the Elections Commission. PHOTO: AHMED NISHAATH / MIHAARU
Nafaahath Ibrahim
02 October 2018, MVT 13:23

Elections Commission (EC)'s President Ahmed Shareef declared on Tuesday that the people have voiced their decision in the recent Presidential Election, and that it is everyone's responsibility to heed it.

His statement came after ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) held a protest on Monday night, claiming that EC was influenced during the elections. The rally, attended by President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, called on the commission to explain a leaked phone call between Shareef and an unidentified individual.

In the leaked clip, the individual is heard expressing fear about people finding out something and Shareef asking 'him' to pretend to know nothing and that the police cannot prove anything. The entire context of the conversation is unclear as the audio appears to be heavily edited.

Shareef tweeted stating that he has faced all the criticism he received before and after the elections, and that he has and always will be on the right path. He added that in democracy, the vote is the people's voice.

In addition, he had defended the phone call and said that the audio clip was edited and his words mixed up to "generate another meaning".

Although President Yameen had conceded defeat the day after polling, during last night's rally he declared that he is now sure that he would have received more than the 96,000 votes he got in the election. He implied that the lack of votes for him indicated that the election was not free and fair.

President-Elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won with 58.4 percent of the votes while President Yameen received 41.6 percent. President Yameen lost his bid for re-election with a wide margin of 38,000 votes.

The ruling party has declared that they will annul the elections and protect the rights of citizens even if they have to take the case to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, EC member Ismail Habeeb had responded late on Monday night that there are no grounds to annul the election held on September 23.

According to Habeeb's statement on Twitter, there is no constitutional reason or ground for the election to be annulled.

He expressed concerns over the accusations levied at the EC members, and asked protesters to come directly to the commission for answers rather than protest on the streets.

Habeeb also advised PPM to be a responsible opposition party and to refrain from defaming the EC president.

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