Maldives' EC chief defends 'fair polls' amid arrest reports

Maldives elections commission chief Ahmed Shareef reiterated that Sunday's presidential elections were free and fair amid reports that he could be arrested for rigging the crunch elections.

Just a little over a quarter million people in the tropical island nation voted on Sunday in an election amid mounting international concerns for a lack of transparency and suppression of government critics.

The election widely regarded more as a referendum than an election saw incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom seeking re-election go against the veteran lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

Throughout Sunday, Solih maintained a healthy lead but pulled well clear as Yameen lost key electorates despite significant pledges of development in the next five years.

Solih had been backed by Yameen's main political rivals including the now jailed former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Nasheed along with Jumhoory Party leader and business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim.

Preliminary results from Sunday's election shows an overwhelming victory for the opposition alliance with Solih securing 58 percent of the votes.

On Monday, president Yameen went on air to concede defeat and has promised a smooth transition of power to his successor.

However, details have emerged that the ruling party is gearing up to challenge the result of the election claiming that the electoral watchdog had deliberately blocked its supporters from voting.

In the wake of reports of the imminent arrest of elections commission members, Shareef denied any wrongdoing insisting that the elections were free, fair and transparent.

He also dismissed allegations that thousands of ruling party supporters were denied the right to vote pointing out that the commission's complaints bureau had not received any complaints that could affect the outcome of the elections.

"I haven't done anything to warrant my arrest. EC didn't do anything to rig the elections. These accusations are baseless. I've always been saying that," Shareef said.

EC had said the official results of the elections would be announced before Sunday.