Yameen warned against undermining poll result
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 con- sider 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.