US fires sanctions warning to Maldives pres over bid to annul election

United States (US) on Friday threatened to impose sanctions against outgoing Maldives president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom over his bid to annul last month's presidential election which he lost to the opposition alliance.

President Yameen had filed a legal challenge on Wednesday citing rigging and electoral fraud.

US state department's deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino during White House press briefing expressed grave concern by president Yameen's "troubling actions" to undermine the will of the Maldivian people.

"... will consider appropriate measures against anyone who undermines a peaceful transition of power," Palladino warned.

Maldives' apex court meanwhile is set to hear the legal challenge at 1pm on Sunday.

Yameen lost the September 23 election by a margin of 16 percent to opposition alliance candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, in an outcome hailed as a win for democracy in the crisis-hit archipelago.

The result was widely accepted, including by the United States, China, India, and the European Union.

Yameen conceded defeat a day after the election but has since alleged widespread irregularities in the vote.

The president, who says he will stay on in office until the end of his term on November 17, has offered little evidence to back his claim.

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

However, the ruling party has now claimed that the elections commission had rigged the elections and has been carrying out nightly protests demanding the commission to answer recent allegations.