Opposition alleges state media role in plot to rig elections

Maldives opposition Wednesday expressed concern over rumours that the state television station plans to misreport the results in a bid to rig the upcoming presidential elections.

Opposition alliance presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's spokesperson Mariya Ahmed Didi told local reporters on Tuesday, that the failure by the country's electoral watchdog to share key information about the crunch elections slated for Sunday was fueling concern and disturbing rumours over its ability to ensure free and fair elections.

Mariya said the most disturbing accusation to surface on the eve of the elections was state television station Television Maldives (TVM) in cahoots with the Elections Commission plan to misreport the result of the election.

She insisted that the elections commission must publicly deny such rumours and assure the people of its ability to hold a free and fair election.

Mariya also said the opposition would not accept any result read out from a computer tablet after skipping the legally mandate process of announcing the result of each and every ballot box in the presence of election observers, monitors and the representatives of the candidates.

Elections Commission has come under heavy opposition criticism over alleged moves to undermine free and fair elections in the Maldives.

The opposition had been incensed over the use of tablets at polling stations by the commission which it said was another planned move to rig the elections.

The elections widely seen as a referendum more than an elections, would be a two horse race between incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom who is seeking re-election and opposition alliance candidate Solih who has been backed by Yameen's main political rivals including the now jailed former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed.