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.
Yameen claimed magic ink had been used to rig the election and that votes marked for him disappeared inside ballot boxes.
Opposition activists celebrated outside the Supreme Court in the capital Male after the decision was read out, effectively drawing a line under Yameen’s five years of iron-fisted rule.
“After weeks of uncertainty, the Maldivian people can finally enjoy clarity regarding the outcome of the election,” said President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who swept September’s poll in an unexpected landslide victory.