Maldives opposition refuses to rule out vote rigging

Maldives opposition on Monday refused to rule out possible vote rigging in the upcoming presidential elections slated for later this year.

Speaking during a program on opposition aligned Raajje TV late Monday, chief opposition lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih rejected the notion that incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom would not hold the elections at all if a victory for him is not guaranteed.

However, the Hinnavaru lawmaker was quick to allege that president Yameen who is seeking a second term in office might delay the election.

Yameen has either jailed or forced all his rivals into exile prompting the four political leaders pledging allegiance to a common cause.

Solih refused to rule out the possibility that president Yameen would look to rig the election but insisted that the opposition alliance would do every thing possible to ensure a free and fair elections.

"The constitution mandates a presidential elections every five years. There would probably be an elections. But there is a distinct possibility that the elections might not be held on the specified date. And I honestly can't rule out the possibility of vote rigging. That might happen. I cannot say that president Yameen won't rig the elections to win it," Solih alleged.

According to Solih, the opposition must do a lot more to ensure free and fair elections in the archipelago plagued by years of political turmoil.

He suggested that the opposition needs to "free" the parliament and get the dozen disqualified lawmakers back in parliament.

"We need to free the elections commission from political influence. We need to get rid of its current members and appoint new and unbiased members. But we can only that when we get the parliament running again. We need to ensure an elections commission and an independent judiciary that people can trust. That's the only way we can ensure a free and fair elections."