Maldives top court resumes election challenge

Maldives top court on Monday resumed hearings on the legal challenge filed by incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom seeking to annul last month's presidential election which he lost to the opposition alliance.

President Yameen had filed a legal challenge at the Supreme Court on Wednesday citing rigging and electoral fraud.

The second hearing on the case began at around 10.30am on Monday with dozens of both opposition and ruling party supporters gathered outside the Supreme Court building in the capital Male.

What happened on Sunday?

During the first hearing on Sunday, president Yameen's lawyer Mohamed Saleem presented the case in detail leveling major accusations against the ballot paper printer M7 and the elections commission.

Saleem largely accused EC of using pens with disappearing ink while ballot papers had also been laced with a chemical that wiped votes for president Yameen.

In response, EC's lawyer Hussain Shameem argued that the whole electoral process had been conducted in accordance with the laws while none of the "sensational" claims made by president Yameen in the case had been raised with the official complaints bureau during or after the elections.

Shameem also said none of the election observers or monitors from either candidate had noticed anything extraordinary to give weight to the vote rigging claims made by president Yameen.

He said president Yameen had failed to clearly specify the exact number of votes the plaintiff had allegedly been robbed as a result of the alleged vote rigging.

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 had alleged widespread irregularities in the vote.

Shameem pointed out that president Yameen had lost the election by a staggering 38,000 votes which he insisted could not be accounted by the claims made in the case.

After concluding proceedings on Sunday, the Supreme Court did not state whether it would issue a ruling on Monday. However, legal experts believe that the apex court could very well reach a verdict later Monday.