Maldives: Yameen’s Desperate Moves To Stay In Power – Analysis


By R.M.Panda

After losing the election by an overwhelming margin and after conceding defeat publicly, Yameen is now up to his old tricks to stay in power with the help of his former cronies in the Judiciary and the Security Forces. Unfortunately for him, the Election Commission has at last realised the fraud that is being perpetrated by Yameen in the run up to the elections and so far it has been unwilling to go along with him. The World should not anymore look at it as merely as an internal matter of a tyrant who has violated all norms of democracy in wielding power and putting every opponent either in jail or driven to exile.

President Abdulla Yameen has challenged the result at Supreme Court citing rigging and electoral fraud. His complaint is perhaps that the Election Commission did not act to his dictates in the last phase leading to the elections!

The Supreme Court instead of throwing out the case is said to have scheduled a hearing this Sunday at 1 PM local time. The Court has asked the Election Commission to submit its defence before 11 am on Saturday.

President Yameen’s legal team in moving the Supreme Court said that numerous complaints have been received from his supporters of misconduct in the elections and therefore he had decided to move for legal action on behalf of his supporters.

There is very little evidence to back the incumbent President’s claim of rigging and electoral fraud. Yameen has instigated his party supporters of PPM (Y) to launch nightly protests over a “doctored” call of the Election Commissioner with an unknown person. This has been touted as evidence of wrongdoing and undue influence.

Yameen who had effectively banned all street protests is now instigating his supporters to take to the streets. He is now screaming of theft, voting fraud and insinuating that the Election Commission had taken bribes. What was he doing when these acts were supposed to be happening and he was not aware even after the election results were announced! It should not be a surprise to anyone who knows Yameen’s antics, that he could still in the little time available, arrest all the members of the Elections Commission and rig the re- election! He has already transferred the Police Chief!

Denouncing the leaked audio by PPM as doctored, the EC chief Shareef says that the conversations were recorded without his knowledge. The recorded audio phone calls were edited, dubbed and recorded to bring out a certain meaning. The Election Commission has also threatened to seek defamation action against PPM for their slanderous allegations of fraud and vote rigging on EC.

The EC has also decided to take punitive action against PPM if it continues to misuse the freedom of assembly law by organising the protests outside the party headquarters in Male. A defamation complaint has already been filed with the Police by EC against the President’s spokes-person Ibrahim Mauz Ali who called the EC members as “thieves”

The five member of EC have declared that there were no complaints or irregularities that could affect the outcome of the election and they have continued to stand firm on their position. Voting and ballot counting took place in the presence of all representatives of the candidates and in front of local and international observers and monitored by them. A total 123 cases were filed with the Complaint Bureau and all these complaints have been attended to and none of them would have affected the outcome of the elections.

The Human Rights Commission of Maldives has praised the Election Commission and said that the Presidential election proceeded smoothly and peacefully. There were no incidents that infringed on anyone’s right in violation of laws or regulations that could affect the outcome of the election it said.

Seeing all this despicable tactics being used to annul the election and stay in power, the United States has criticized the attempts of Yameen to undermine the democracy. The US state department spokesperson said “The US is concerned of troubling actions by outgoing President Yameen that threaten to undermine the will of the Maldivian people, and will consider appropriate measures against anyone who undermines a peaceful transfer of power in Maldives.”

Alice Wells, a top US diplomat also warned the government officials in her visit to Maldives not to undermine the peoples verdict. Wells had met the President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and assured him that the US government is looking at what resources and tools can bring to bear to assist Maldives in its return to a democratic path and in ensuring greater security and prosperity in the Indian Ocean.

The Chinese Ambassador Zhang Lizhong during a courtesy call on President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih extended his invitation to visit China once he is sworn in to office. The two discussed about the China’s assistance to Maldives. Beijing is looking forward to work with new government to ensure the continuity of their investments and also to maintain the good political relations between two countries.

Disregarding the President-elect Solih’s request to not to make any fresh appointments and not take any major decisions, the outgoing President Yameen has replaced the Ppolice chief of the country. This change comes just after the two days of the EC’s declaration of the election result confirming opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s victory with 58 percent of the vote. This indicated that Yameen even after conceding defeat is in no mood to handover baton to Solih.

The civil service commission had already appointed a transition chief to organise a smooth transfer of power. But it is yet to be seen how Yameen is going to cooperate with the transition chief.

As of now the Election Commission is working in the right direction to implement the people’s verdict without coming under any pressure and it is hoped that the Supreme Court for once will not again revert to obliging Yameen to perpetuate his tyranny.

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SAAG is the South Asia Analysis Group, a non-profit, non-commercial think tank. The objective of SAAG is to advance strategic analysis and contribute to the expansion of knowledge of Indian and International security and promote public understanding.

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