Maldives opposition asks police to prevent pres from 'fleeing'

Maldives opposition alliance late Wednesday asked the police to investigate increasing reports that outgoing president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom was preparing to flee the country.

Since his election defeat last month, opposition has continued to allege that president Yameen would flee the country in fear of being investigated for mass corruption and embezzlement.

The reports had intensified especially on social networking sites after president Yameen earlier Wednesday effectively delivered his farewell address to the nation ahead an imminent verdict on his legal challenge seeking to annul the election.

After filing the complaint on Wednesday evening, main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chairperson Hassan Latheef said president Yameen must not be allowed to leave while the police were investigating allegations of money laundering against the president.

"... even if he [president Yameen] is still the president, the police by law must stop him. We hope that president Yameen would not be allowed to leave until the allegations against him are investigated," Latheef said.

Maldives ruling party meanwhile had dismissed reports that president Yameen was about to flee the country, insisting that he remained resolutely with the Maldivian people despite his resounding defeat in last month's presidential elections.

Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) deputy leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla took to Twitter to dismiss the reports insisting that "president Yameen was not someone who would flee the country."

"President Yameen would always work within the laws for the sake of the people. He will put the people and the nation above all else," the Fonadhoo lawmaker added.

During the 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.

The president detailed his achievements and progress made in the past five years which he said was to protect the independence and sovereignty of the country.

"During my tenure, the most difficult thing for me is my failure to learn the people. Learn what the people wanted. I just couldn't find out what shapes and influences their ideologies," 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.