Defeated Maldives pres urged to facilitate transition after court verdict

Maldives' president elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Sunday urged outgoing president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to accept the Supreme Court decision to reject the latter's bid to annul last month's presidential election.

President Yameen on Sunday lost the legal challenge after the country's top court found no grounds to annul last month's presidential election.

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.

The five judge Supreme Court bench unanimously ruled that despite the concerns of vote rigging and electoral fraud, president Yameen had failed to provide sufficient claims to back his claims.

Following the verdict, Solih in a statement said the people can finally enjoy clarity regarding the outcome of the election.

"The petition to annul the election was frivolous from the start, and spoke more about an inability in some quarters to accept defeat, than any genuine concerns about the vote," the statement said adding that the Supreme Court judgement can now pave the way for a smooth transfer of power.

"I call upon president Yameen to accept the will of the people, and genuinely work towards facilitating the transition," Solih urged.

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.

The Supreme Court verdict was not unexpected after president Yameen delivered in what was widely believed as his farewell address on Wednesday.

President Yameen effectively conceded defeat for the second time in his address after the top court rejected the witnesses presented to back his allegations.

Dozens of opposition supporters gathered outside the Supreme Court rejoiced loudly as news of the verdict filtered out to the streets.

With the verdict, there are no more obstacles to Solih being sworn in as the seventh president of the crisis-hit island nation which is expected on November 17.