US Warns 'Measures' Against Anyone Undermining 'Peaceful Transfer' Of Power In Maldives

| October 14 , 2018 , 15:10 IST

As outgoing Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, who lost the nation's presidential election to Opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, approached the Maldives Supreme Court to petition for a fresh vote, the US on Saturday warned of taking 'measures' against anyone undermining peaceful transfer of power in the Maldives.

A U.S. Department of State official Robert Palladino in a statement said, "The US is concerned by troubling actions" by 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."

The US had earlier warned of targeted sanctions if the Yameen administration attempted to rig the September presidential elections which on September 24 showed Opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) winning with 58.3 percent of the votes, beating incumbent President Abdulla Yameen, who is considered to be more pro-China.

Yameen had initially conceded defeat in the election which recorded an 88 percent voter turnout from an electorate of 2.6 lakh people, and was due to hand over power to the president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on November 17.

However, on October 11, Yameen approached the Supreme Court of Maldives to annul the results and call for a fresh vote.

ALSO READ: Outgoing Maldives President Yameen Has 30 'Un-Islamic' Sea Sculptures Demolished

The Joint Opposition of Maldives, which includes the MDP, asked Yameen to withdraw the "blatantly unsubstantiated case, and to step aside and to facilitate a peaceful, and smooth transition."

In a statement over the weekend the Joint Opposition said, "Maldivians used the ballot to defeat the dictatorial regime. Yameen must not be allowed to perverse the hard-won opportunity for all Maldivians to attain meaningful democracy and stability."

Outgoing President Abdulla Yameen became infamous after he declared a State of Emergency in the island nation on February 5, amidst a political and constitutional crisis, and lifted it after 45 days on March 22. By imposing the State of Emergency, the government was able to annul a February 1 ruling of its Supreme Court that quashed convictions of 9 Opposition leaders and ordered the government to free them.