AP NEWS

Maldives opposition: President attempting to stay in power

September 27, 2018

FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, file photo. Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, right, casts his vote at a polling station during presidential election day in Male, Maldives. The Maldives' opposition alliance says President Yameen is working on ways to remain in power despite having conceded defeat in the presidential election earlier this week. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, File)

MALE, Maldives (AP) — Maldives President Yameen Abdul Gayoom is working on how to stay in power despite having conceded defeat in this week’s election, the opposition alliance said Wednesday.

Joint opposition spokesman Ahmed Mahloof told The Associated Press that government officials say Yameen is planning to complain to the Maldives Election Commission about the conduct of the vote and pressure the commission to delay releasing the final results, due Sunday. Mahloof said Yameen is also trying to get police officers loyal to him to prepare intelligence reports saying the election was flawed.

“It’s serious. After conceding the election he is trying to play dirty,” Mahloof said of Yameen.

Provisional results released Monday showed joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih decisively defeated Yameen with about 58 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Hussain Shihab noted that Yameen had conceded the election in a speech Monday. He said Yameen accepted the results and pledged to ensure a smooth transition when his term ends Nov. 17. However, Shihab did not comment on whether Yameen’s stance has changed since then.

The election outcome surprised many given opposition warnings that the voting could be rigged. The European Union didn’t send election observers because the Maldives failed to meet conditions for monitoring, and few foreign media were allowed into the country to cover the vote. The U.S., which earlier threatened sanctions if the elections were not free and fair, urged calm while the election results were being finalized.

Maldives became a multiparty democracy in 2008 after decades of autocratic rule.

However, after Yameen became president in 2013 the country lost many of its democratic gains. He jailed almost all of his political opponents following allegedly flawed trials and forced some into exile. Yameen also consolidated power by exerting control over the courts, bureaucracy, police and the military.

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