Yameen warned against un­der­min­ing poll re­sult

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTNATION - Yash­want Raj

The US is con­cerned by trou­bling ac­tions by out­go­ing Pres Yameen that threaten to un­der­mine the will of the Mal­di­vian peo­ple, and will con­sider ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures... ROBERT PAL­LADINO, state depart­ment spokesper­son

WASH­ING­TON: The US has threat­ened to act against any­one try­ing to un­der­mine the peace­ful trans­fer of power in the Mal­dives, point­ing to “trou­bling ac­tions” by out­go­ing pres­i­dent Ab­dulla Yameen, who has chal­lenged the election re­sult in a turn­around.

Af­ter ac­cept­ing the re­sults of the Septem­ber election, in which Mal­di­vian Demo­cratic Party can­di­date Ibrahim Mo­hamed Solih scored a de­ci­sive vic­tory, Yameen mounted a le­gal chal­lenge to the ver­dict ear­lier this week and al­leged rig­ging and un­fair prac­tices.

“The US is con­cerned by trou­bling events in Mal­dives that threaten to un­der­mine the will of the Mal­di­vian peo­ple, in­clud­ing a Supreme Court com­plaint filed by pres­i­dent Yameen con­test­ing the election re­sults and re­ports of se­ri­ous threats to mem­ber of the Election Com­mis­sion,” state depart­ment spokesper­son Robert Pal­ladino said in a video posted on Twit­ter on Fri­day.

He added: “The US will con­sider ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures against any­one who un­der­mines democ­racy, the rule of law or a free and fair elec­toral process in the Mal­dives.”

Pal­ladino laid down the rules, say­ing the US and world com­mu­nity will view with con­cern any at­tempt to un­der­mine the demo­cratic process, in­clud­ing de­lay­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion sched­uled for Novem­ber 17.

The blunt mes­sage came just a day af­ter Alice Wells, head of the state depart­ment’s South and Cen­tral Asia bu­reau, is­sued a sim­i­lar but more con­cil­ia­tory mes­sage dur­ing a visit to the Mal­dives. “This was a de­ci­sive vic­tory (for Solih) and pres­i­dent Yameen did the right thing when he ac­knowl­edged his loss and he said he would be a re­spon­si­ble op­po­si­tion can­di­date,” Wells said of the election re­sult while talk­ing to a TV net­work.

There is no doubt who won the election, Wells added, and the US ex­pects “Yameen will ac­cept the voice of his cit­i­zens”.

Yameen had promised to, but has gone back on his word. He was widely ex­pected to rig the elec­tions in a bid to cling to power de­spite a mas­sive groundswell of op­po­si­tion to him and his poli­cies, chiefly en­gi­neer­ing a pre­car­i­ous eco­nomic de­pen­dence on China.

His ac­tions since the election cast doubt on whether he will al­low a peace­ful trans­fer of power.

In her meet­ings with Solih and other mem­bers of the newly elected govern­ment, Wells as­sured them of deeper and al­laround US en­gage­ment, with en­hanced eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and help for fight­ing cor­rup­tion and im­prov­ing gov­er­nance in the con­text of the evolv­ing US strat­egy for the Indo-pa­cific.

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