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Maldives court to hear election challenge on Sunday

COLOMBO, (AFP) – The Maldives Supreme Court Thursday announced it would examine President Abdulla Yameen’s challenge against his shock defeat at last month’s election and fixed a hearing for Sunday.
“The Supreme Court has decided to accept the constitutional dispute filed by President Yameen and it would be heard,” the court said on Twitter. It later said a hearing will be held on Sunday at 1:00 pm (0800 GMT).
Yameen, whose main political rivals were either in jail or in exile, was unexpectedly beaten in the September 23 election by unity opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, with 58.4 percent of the vote.
The court announced the hearing date after meeting with the Indian Ocean archipelago nation’s chief elections commissioner Ahmed Shareef.
Shareef told reporters in the capital Male that Yameen had called for an annulment of the results and a fresh election.
The United States and the European Union had threatened sanctions if the vote was not free and fair and if Yameen, 59, did not accept the result.
Yameen had already conceded defeat and reluctantly said he would leave office in November, when his term ends.
But he has been publicly urging his supporters to challenge the results.
Yameen’s lawyer Mohamed Saleem said Wednesday that the decision to file the challenge came after receiving and reviewing “numerous complaints” by Yameen’s supporters.
“So in light of that, President Yameen decided that the challenge must be filed for the rights of his supporters,” he added.
Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, spokesman for the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), said Wednesday that the legal challenge was “an attempt by Yameen to create unrest”.

Published Date: Thursday, October 11th, 2018 | 09:16 PM

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