Maldives court to hear election challenge on Sunday

File photo of Maldives. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons) Photograph:( Others )

WION Web Team Maldives Oct 11, 2018, 05.40 PM (IST)

A day after Maldives President Abdulla Yameen's party filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging his election defeat last month, the court has decided to hear the election challenge on 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 had earlier accepted his defeat against Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. His U-turn came after the lawyers of Yameen's Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) alleged that the vote was rigged by the independent election commission of the country.

Results released by the electoral commission had shown Yameen's PPM on 41.7 per cent of the vote, well behind Solih on 58.3 per cent. Nearly 90 per cent of the 262,000 electorates turned out to vote during the 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 earlier said he would hand over power on November 17 ensuring a smooth transition. But he has been publicly urging his supporters to challenge the results.

In the last election in 2013, the Maldives Supreme Court had annulled the vote giving Yameen time to put together an alliance and win the second round of voting against former president Mohamed Nasheed.

In February Yameen had imposed a 45-day state of emergency cracking down on the Opposition and imprisoning the country's Chief Justice and Supreme Court judges.    

(With inputs from agencies)