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EC receives "pleas" for statement claiming unlawful election

Fathmath Shaahunaz
02 November 2018, MVT 14:25
Elections Commission's President Ahmed Shareef speaks at a press conference. PHOTO/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
02 November 2018, MVT 14:25

Elections Commission (EC)'s President Ahmed Shareef revealed on Friday that the electoral watchdog's staff are again receiving pleas for statements claiming that the September 23 presidential election involved unlawful proceedings.

Local media Mihaaru cited Shareef that unknown persons had contacted four EC employees on Thursday, "begging" for a statement that the election was unlawful.

He stated that he did not understand their actions as the deadline to file electoral complaints at the High Court has expired.

"I do not know yet whether they were PPM or supporters of PPM," he said, referring to ruling Progressive Party of Maldives. "All we know is that these people are calling our staff and pleading with them."

"Our staff apparently replied that they could not give such a statement, as all of the [election proceedings] took place under their watch."

PPM's candidate and incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom had initially conceded defeat to the opposition candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who won the election with a pronounced lead of 38,000 votes. However, President Yameen had later accused the EC of corruption and committing election fraud, and filed at the Supreme Court seeking to cancel the election results.

Following the case, it surfaced that members of PPM had allegedly offered bribes to the staff of EC and M7 Print Ltd, the firm that printed the ballot papers, in exchange for testimonies in the court case.

The five judges on the top court's bench unanimously ruled that there was no evidence to prove election fraud and, thus, there were no grounds to annul the September election.

President Yameen had also requested the top court to order an investigation into the presidential election proceedings. The court did not issue a decision.

Meanwhile, the parliament has decided to hold Solih's presidential inauguration on November 17.

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