The Maldives’ top court on Sunday ended weeks of uncertainty by rejecting strongman President Abdulla Yameen’s controversial bid to annul last month’s election results, upholding his landslide defeat to an opposition candidate. The five-judge Supreme Court bench unanimously ruled that Yameen had failed to prove his claim that the election was rigged and a fresh poll was necessary in the Indian Ocean archipelago. Under international pressure, Yameen initially conceded defeat in the September 23 poll. But he then filed an appeal this month, throwing the island nation into turmoil and attracting warnings from the United States and regional superpower India to respect the outcome.
Hundreds of Maldivians protested on Sunday demanding the arrest of defeated President Abdulla Yameen as its top court began to hear a petition challenging the outcome of last’s month election in the island nation. The tourist archipelago has been in political turmoil since February, when a state of emergency was imposed by Yameen, whose critics have accused him of running Maldives with an iron fist, jailing political opponents and Supreme Court judges. “This is our right. They can’t change it. They can’t play around with the votes,” Abidha Afeef, a 55-year old protester told Reuters. “Yameen has to go.”
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has filed a court challenge against his election loss, citing a “lot of complaints from supporters”, according to a lawyer. The complaint was filed at the island nation’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, said the president’s lawyer, Mohamed Saleem. Yameen lost the September 23 election by a 16 percent margin to opposition leader, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, in an outcome hailed as a win for democracy in the crisis-hit Indian Ocean archipelago. The result was widely accepted, including by the United States, China, India, and the European Union.
The Maldives’ election commission on Saturday officially endorsed thevictory of the opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in last week’s presidential polls amid concerns that Maldives outgoing President Abdulla Yameen is trying to hold on to power. Salah Rasheed, the election commission’s secretary general, said Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party won the polls with 58.4 percent of the ballot. Although election monitors had warned of rigging by the incumbent, Yameen could secure only 41.6 percent. Solih was backed by four opposition parties, three of which supported Yameen in a controversial 2013 runoff that the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, lost narrowly. Solih is expected to be sworn in on November 17 when Yameen’s term comes to a close.
The Maldives police and army have said they will act to guarantee the result of Sunday’s presidential election is honoured, amid reports the country’s ousted leader Abdulla Yameen is preparing a last-minute legal challenge to the vote. The acting chief of the Maldives police, Abdulla Nawaz, tweeted on Wednesday evening the decision “made by the beloved people of the Maldives on 23 September 2018 will be respected and upheld by police”. A similar statement was issued by captain Ibrahim Azim, an information officer in the Maldives National Defence Force. The assurances by the country’s security forces came after public warnings by opposition groups that Yameen, who was defeated in Sunday’s poll by 17 points, was preparing a legal bid to challenge the result.
Maldives’ President Abdulla Yameen has conceded defeat after a surprise election win for the opposition in a poll that was billed as a test for democracy in the troubled island nation. “The citizens of the Maldives had their say … and I accept that result,” Yameen said in a televised speech on Monday. The 59-year-old, who presided over a five-year crackdown on dissent, said he met with president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih at the president’s office in Male shortly before his speech. “I have congratulated him,” Yameen said.
The Maldives, the isolated scattering of islands caught in a geopolitical struggle between China, India and the West, were thrust into more uncertainty Sunday when voters appeared to have ousted the country’s autocratic president. With votes still being tallied, local news organizations reported that Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the opposition candidate, had beaten President Abdulla Yameen. Mr. Solih won 58 percent of the vote with about 97 percent of ballots counted, according to the independent news website mihaaru.com. Transparency Maldives, an election watchdog, said he had won “by a decisive margin.” As Mr. Solih declared victory and his supporters danced in the street, observers held their breath as they waited to see what Mr. Yameen would do next.
Maldives: Long lines, fainting and shoving: Maldives voting proves slow-going | Maldives Independent
People reported waiting up to six hours to cast their vote in the Maldives presidential election Sunday, as long lines persisted at polling stations more than halfway through the day. There are about 262,000 eligible voters. Elections Commission member Ahmed Akram told the Maldives Independent that turnout had reached 38 percent by noon. Polls close in less than an hour, but queues stretched outside most schools where polling stations were set up in the capital. In Kuala Lumpur people fainted while waiting, leaving others in the queue to manage the line and arrange for drinking water. Queues were said to extend from the 10th floor to the ground floor. There are almost 1,900 people registered to vote in Kuala Lumpur, but only one ballot box.
The usual din of fishmongers’ cries on the Maldivian capital’s waterfront was drowned out by loud boos on Tuesday when a truck carrying flag-waving activists campaigning to re-elect President Abdulla Yameen lumbered past them. It’s a sight that has become common in Male’s busy market, where a web of pink and yellow campaign banners hangs between every lamppost and from every fishing boat’s mast. Earlier this week, Yameen’s spokesman was booed out of the area by opposition supporters angry over corruption and human rights abuses in this popular Indian Ocean honeymoon destination. Yameen, 59, is standing for a second five-year term in polls on Sunday, promising “transformative economic development”, including jobs and housing for the Maldives’ large youth population.
The Maldives’ opposition party Wednesday raised concerns over conduct of the presidential elections on Sunday in a free and fair manner by the country’s poll body, which it alleged has deployed activists of the ruling dispensation for the poll duty. President Abdulla Yameen, of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), is seeking a second five-year term in the Indian Ocean archipelago, a popular high-end tourist destination. Yemeen had imposed a state of emergency in February after the Supreme Court quashed the conviction of nine opposition leaders, including the country’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed, the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leader, is currently in exile in Sri Lanka. He has been barred from contesting the Sunday’s polls.
More than a quarter of a million people will vote on Sunday for the next leader of the tropical Maldives in an election criticized internationally for a lack of transparency and suppression of government critics. President Abdulla Yameen is seeking a second five-year term in the Indian Ocean archipelago, a popular high-end tourist destination and a key state in the battle for influence between India and China. But the government has jailed many of his main rivals after speedy trials for charges ranging from terrorism to corruption, and introduced new vote-counting rules that observers say will prevent them from seeing individual ballot papers, leading to doubts about the legitimacy of the vote.
Several countries including the United States, India and the European Union (EU) have raised serious doubts over the fairness of the Maldives presidential elections to be held on 23rd September. Bending the rules and abusing state resources, an autocratic President “Abdulla Yameen” is fighting to get himself ‘selected for his second term. He has been accused of series of corruption charges-he has mocked the human rights of the people of the nation, has put every possible contestant in jail or driven them to exile, muzzled the press and has controlled all administrative apparatus to silence his political opponents. The foreign media ( domestic has been terrorized and subdued) has strongly condemned this impropriety. China loves dictators and is not comfortable with true democracies! Ignoring immediate neighbours and their concerns Yameen has sought the support of China just to stay in power by any means.
Maldives: Opposition presidential candidate says government may rig next month’s election | Associated Press
The Maldives opposition presidential candidate said Monday he fears the government will rig next month’s election. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said his Maldivian Democratic Party is “very worried about the situation” but has “trust in the people.” Solih spoke to journalists after addressing a meeting of Maldivian citizens living in Sri Lanka. A government spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment. The government has rejected such accusations in the past, saying they are baseless.
The Elections Commission denied allegations of registration fraud as lots were drawn Saturday to assign candidate numbers for the September 23 election. President Abdulla Yameen will be candidate number one and joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih will be number two on the ballot paper. Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer and lawyer Hisaan Hussain drew lots on their behalf. Speaking at the ceremony, EC chief Ahmed Shareef denied fraudulent registration of people who did not seek to vote outside their island of permanent residence. It emerged last week that several people – including at least 87 from Gaaf Alif Villigili and 22 from Kolamaafushi – were re-registered elsewhere despite not applying. Some people were registered to vote in Sri Lanka and England.
An international human rights group said Thursday that the Maldives government is intimidating the political opposition and the media and that threatens the prospects for a fair presidential election next month. New-York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report that the government of the Indian Ocean archipelago state also has interfered with the judiciary and the elections commission. “Immediate steps are needed to restore political freedoms and democratic rule to ensure free and fair elections in September,” said Brad Adams, the group’s Asia director. The election is September 23.An international human rights group said Thursday that the Maldives government is intimidating the political opposition and the media and that threatens the prospects for a fair presidential election next month. New-York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report that the government of the Indian Ocean archipelago state also has interfered with the judiciary and the elections commission. “Immediate steps are needed to restore political freedoms and democratic rule to ensure free and fair elections in September,” said Brad Adams, the group’s Asia director. The election is September 23.
Maldives government has declared September 23 a public holiday to allow people to vote in the presidential elections slated for that day. President’s Office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali in a Tweet said incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom had declared Sunday, September 23 a public holiday to allow people to vote without work related commitments. The decision came after the country’s top court rejected a motion to declare elections day a public holiday.
The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives dismissed speculation the government will seek to delay the September 23 presidential election. “We want to hold the election as soon as possible. And it will happen on the date the Elections Commission has set,” MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla told the press Sunday evening. The PPM will not seek to postpone the polls “under any circumstances” or support delays, the party’s deputy leader insisted. The press briefing was called after the Maldivian Democratic Party said President Abdulla Yameen was “inventing cowardly excuses to cancel or delay the election,” referring to an astonishing Facebook post from the defence minister about a plot to destabilise the Maldives in the coming days.
The Maldives elections body will allow voters with disabilities to choose their own helpers for polling day, its second U-turn and major misstep in four days. Updated electoral regulations published Sunday say voters who require assistance will be allowed to choose a helper of their choice. The helper can assist the voter with the permission of the chief electoral official at the ballot centre. The Elections Commission initially said only electoral officials would help voters who were unable to tick the ballot paper on their own. The original announcement was met with anger from political parties and a threat of legal action by a former attorney general.
The start date for presidential candidates to submit their applications has been delayed by more than a week, the head of the Elections Commission said Thursday. The announcement was made by Ahmed Shareef in a press conference. “The commission first announced that applications would be open on 15 (July). We had some differences of opinion in the commission but we have now decided that the date for applications is 23 July,” he told reporters. Shareef said the wait was because the term for President Abdulla Yameen expires on 17 November due to the delays in the 2013 election.
A newly formed opposition alliance said Tuesday it will seek to oust the Maldives’s president and form an interim government to ensure elections scheduled in 2018 will be free and fair. An interim administration is crucial to restore democracy and to “protect the many people being persecuted,” Ahmed Naseem, a member of the so-called shadow government in exile. “The primary objective of the Maldives United Opposition is to strive for the removal from power of the dictator in Maldives, through all legal and lawful means, and pave the way for a transitional administration as soon as possible,” Naseem said.
Election monitors observing Maldives parliamentary polls over the weekend have pointed to a ” violation of rules” by the Supreme Court, and noted voting was undermined by vote buying, reports released on Tuesday said. The Maldives parliamentary election was preceded by a controversial Supreme Court verdict that passed prison sentences on the Election Commission chief and his deputy. The verdict also removed them from their positions leaving a virtually headless Elections Commission to head the vote. The European Union (EU) observers and the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) have now released their interim reports.
Voters in the Indian Ocean atoll nation cast their ballots on Saturday, despite concerns that the country’s elections commission was understaffed and unable to carry out the ballot properly. An ally of President Abdulla Yameen had petitioned the Maldives’ Supreme Court to delay the parliamentary polls. But with no decision made by the judges, the election continued as scheduled on Saturday. The court had sacked Election Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek and slapped him with a suspended six-month jail sentence for contempt of court. His deputy, Ahmed Fayaz, was also fired but avoided jail time.
The Maldives Supreme Court has given all four election commissioners six-month jail sentences, suspended for three years, for “disobeying orders”. The head of the commission and his deputy have also been sacked. The BBC’s Charles Haviland in Colombo says the ruling comes at an awkward time as the commission is supposed to be preparing for parliamentary elections in less than two weeks. Former President Mohamed Nasheed has called for protests against the ruling. The four election commission members were brought to trial under new rules that allow the Supreme Court to initiate proceedings, prosecute and pass judgement. The judges said they had disrespected the court by not following election guidelines.
The Maldives’ newly-elected President Abdulla Yameen pledged Sunday to end two years of political turmoil that have brought violent protests to the popular high-end tourist destination, as he was sworn in after defeating the favorite Mohamed Nasheed in a runoff. The win was a victory for the political old guard, who rallied around Yameen to defeat Nasheed – who was the Maldives’ first democratically elected leader, and was forced to resign last year in what he said was a coup. The election was the fourth attempt to choose a new president after three earlier ballots were either canceled or delayed, adding to tension between the rival political groups and drawing international condemnation. Yameen won 51.4 percent of the votes in Saturday’s ballot, in which 91 percent of the 240,000-strong electorate took part. “Rising out of political turmoil and establishing peace is a big responsibility as Maldives’ president and head of state,” Yameen said in his inaugural speech, after he was sworn in at a special session of parliament.
President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan is to depart the Maldives indefinitely on Thursday night. Speaking to Haveeru, Waheed said he will be accompanying First Lady Ilham Hussein on a medical visit to Singapore. Although he said he would come back to the Maldives, he did not specify a return date. On Sunday, an hour before his presidency expired, Waheed declared he would remain as head of state until run off polls take place on November 16. “I do not think there is much I can do from here, things that I cannot do over the phone,” Waheed told Haveeru. President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad said he “wasn’t aware of any upcoming trips”.
A spate of scheduling, cancelling and annulling of elections over the last three months in the Maldives has eroded whatever little legitimacy was left in its public institutions. Instead of a return to democracy that should have happened in September, when the first presidential election was held and then declared invalid, faithfully cast votes have been left hanging in limbo. The latest attempt to conduct a presidential election ran into the familiar muddle of objections and obstruction from the Maldives’ Supreme Court determined to deny the frontrunner, Mohamed Nasheed, a chance to return to power after he was overthrown in a coup d’etat in 2012. The fact that Nasheed is consistently securing over 45% of the popular vote despite a hostile security and judicial establishment shows that the Maldivian people are believers in moderation. The president who took power after the coup, Mohammed Waheed, was rejected by the electorate in September. His paltry tally proved that the coup, carried out by the remnants of Maldives’ ancient regime loyal to the former strongman, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, lacked popular approval.
Political turmoil deepened in the Maldives on Monday as the police clashed with protesters after a third attempt to hold a presidential election was thrown off course by a court order. The sitting president, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, said late Sunday that he would not leave office at midnight, when his term was to end under the country’s Constitution. He said that since no one had been elected to succeed him, he would stay on until Nov. 16, the Supreme Court’s proposed date for a runoff between the two leading candidates. “The Supreme Court has decided the government will continue, instead of going into a constitutional void,” Mr. Hassan said, according to Reuters. Hundreds of opposition supporters had gathered on the street before his announcement, calling on him to step down, and members of the security forces in riot gear used pepper spray and batons to disperse the crowd, witnesses said.
The Supreme Court in the Maldives has suspended a presidential election run-off, after protests from a candidate. On Saturday, ex-President Mohamed Nasheed polled nearly 47%, just short of the 50% needed for outright victory. The second round was to have taken place on Sunday, but the runner-up Abdulla Yameen sought a delay, saying he needed time to campaign afresh. Mr Nasheed has been seeking to regain power after he was forced to resign in 2012, sparking a political crisis. This is the third time the presidential elections have been derailed. A vote on 7 September was annulled by the Supreme Court after one candidate, Gasim Ibrahim, alleged irregularities, despite observer groups deeming the vote free and fair. The court also introduced new guidelines for elections.
Even as the rest of the world and Maldivians too had almost given up the country as on the brink of a political and leadership chaos, it has bounced back with the kind of verve and nerve that democracy entails at birth. The three presidential candidates met in what was not an entirely unexpected turn, and declared their intention to try and complete the poll process in time for an elected President to assume office on 11 November, the D-day under the constitutional scheme and national tradition. Meeting on Sunday night, former President Mohammed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), and his rivals, Abdulla Yameen of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Gasim Ibrahim (Jumhooree Party, JP) unanimously decided to approach the Election Commission (EC) for advancing the poll-dates. If their combined effort next morning when the met the EC officials did not fructify, it owed to the existing electoral scheme – or, so it would seem.
Maldives: Ambassadors warned of international restrictions if no president by November 11: Nasheed | Minivan News
Foreign ambassadors have warned of international restrictions on trade and financial transactions if there is no president-elect by the end of the current presidential term on November 11, former President Mohamed Nasheed said at a press briefing yesterday (October 30). To avert such a scenario, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate suggested two solutions: the Supreme Court should review its judgment to annul the September 7 presidential election, or one of the two rival candidates should withdraw his candidacy “for the sake of the nation and Islam” ahead of the fresh polls scheduled for November 9. “Ambassadors of foreign nations that I meet are now saying very openly that if there is no president-elect by November 11 they would have to take action under their normal rules or procedures,” Nasheed said. A nation without an elected president is considered a dictatorship and prone to instability and unrest by the international community, he added. Nasheed referred to financial sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe on troubled states such as Sudan and Myanmar.