India confident Maldivian people's mandate would prevail

India government on Thursday expressed confidence that the mandate of the Maldivian people would prevail ahead of a Supreme Court verdict on a legal challenge filed by defeated Maldives president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to annul last month's presidential election.

"India welcomes the acceptance of the verdict of the people of Maldives. This election marks not only the triumph of democratic forces in the Maldives but also reflects the firm commitment to the values of democracy and the rule of law. We are confident that the mandate of the people will prevail," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday during a regular press briefing.

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.

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.