The Supreme Court of the Maldives on Sunday rejected a petition from President Abdulla Yameen to annul the results of the September 23 election and start an investigation into vote-rigging and electoral fraud. The court ruling was unanimous.
Yameen lost the election by 38,653 votes. There were a total of 233,877 votes cast in the presidential election.
In Yameen’s petition, he claimed that a pen with disappearing ink was used in the voting booths to remove votes for Yameen and other individuals discreetly marked the blank ballots with another pen while the votes were being counted in front of observers and monitors.
The court ruled that Yameen did not provide a sufficient amount of evidence to show fraud. The only evidence that was provided was three statements from unidentified witnesses.
The Maldivian Democratic chairman has called on the police to ensure Yameen does not leave the country, accusing the president of corruption. The Elections Commission is also seeking defamation action. The Elections Commission has been accused of taking bribes, providing the pens with the disappearing ink, and instructing officials to tamper with the ballots. There have been nightly protests at the Elections Commission’s office every night since October 1.
Just days before the election, the Organized Crime and Corrupt Reporting Project accused the Maldives government, including Yameen, of widespread corruption related to the sale of 50 islands to private investors. The Supreme Court of Maldives had overturned a prison sentence earlier this month against the former president of Maldives citing incorrect trial procedures. UN Experts have warned of a threat against the judiciary of Maldives in February after two Supreme Court judges were arrested following a decision to overturn the convictions of nine opposition leaders.