Only a 'magic carpet' missing in 'ridiculous' election challenge, says opposition

The only thing missing in the fantastical claims made by incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom seeking to annul last month's presidential election was a "magic carpet", opposition alliance legal team said Monday.

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

The case largely accused the Elections commission of using pens with disappearing ink while ballot papers had also been laced with a chemical that wiped votes for president Yameen.

During the second hearing on Monday, president Yameen's legal team had asked the Supreme Court to take the testimonies of the three witnesses in secret to protect them citing a threat to their lives.

Lawyers alleged that elections chief Ahmed Shareef had facilitated visa for an unnamed person who had flown to China to bring the 'pen rings' to the Maldives which was then used by election officials to secretly mark blank ballots during the counting process.

The Supreme Court was also told that the log of people entering and leaving the storage room where the ballot papers were kept was not properly maintained which proved that the elections commission had not tracked access to the ballot papers prior to the elections.

Speaking during the second hearing on Monday, opposition alliance lawyer Hisan Hussain reiterated that the entire case was based on pure "conspiracy theories."

Hisan said claims such as pen rings and disappearing ink were fantastical and the only thing missing from the case was a "magic carpet."

She insisted that president Yameen had not presented a single shred of evidence to back his outrageous claims of vote rigging and fraud.

In response, president Yameen's legal team pointed out that the opposition alliance had made similar allegations prior to the elections.

The five judge bench said a decision would be made to take the testimonies of the witnesses in secret during the third hearing on Tuesday slated for 10.30am.

The court had also announced that Tuesday's proceedings would be the last hearing of the challenge.

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.