'I failed to understand my people,' Maldives pres admits in 'farewell' address

Maldives' outgoing president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Wednesday admitted his failure to understand the Maldivian people during his largely farewell address to the nation ahead of an imminent verdict on his legal challenge seeking to annul last month's presidential election.

During an impromptu address to the nation on live television, president Yameen effectively conceded defeat for the second time after his overwhelming election defeat to the opposition alliance last month.

In his 15 minute address to the nation, president Yameen said his primary objective was to protect the independence and sovereignty of the country.

However, the biggest failure during his five year term was his failure to understand the thinking of the Maldivian people.

"During my tenure, the most difficult thing for me is my failure to understand people's thinking. Learn what the people wanted. I just couldn't find out what shapes and influences their ideologies and beliefs," a determined looking president admitted.

He also vowed to continue serving the people and the nation before urging the country's new leadership to put the interests of the country above their own.

President Yameen's farewell address suggests that he had now lost hope of annulling the election.

President Yameen had filed a legal challenge at the Supreme Court last week seeking to annul last month's presidential election 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 Tuesday's hearing, the five judge bench had rejected the three witnesses which was a major blow to president Yameen's hopes of annulling the election.

The Supreme Court has now ended the hearings on the challenge and a verdict is expected next. However, it remains unclear when the top court would deliver its verdict.

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.