The US will consider undertaking “appropriate measures” against anyone who undermines a peaceful transfer of power in the Maldives, a top State Department official has said, expressing concern over the “troubling actions” taken by outgoing president Abdullah Yameen.
Pro-China incumbent Yameen was trounced by opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the parliamentary elections held in the Maldives last month. Solih is widely regarded as a pro-India leader.
Yameen’s party has filed a legal petition challenging his landslide election defeat despite major international pressure for him to step down.
The important statement by America comes days after Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells met President-elect Solih.
“The US is concerned by troubling actions by outgoing President Yameen that threaten to undermine the will of the Maldivian people, and will consider appropriate measures against anyone who undermines a peaceful transfer of power in the Maldives,” State Department Spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a video twitter message.
The Maldivian people turned out in record numbers during the recent elections to decisively choose Solih as their next president, Palladino said.
The election commission of the Maldives has certified the results of the presidential elections, he said.
Paladino said the US is concerned by troubling actions by outgoing President Yameen that threaten to undermine the will of the Maldivian people after he approached the Supreme Court contesting the election results. There have been reports of serious threats against members of the election commission.
“The United States and the international community would view with great concern any attempt that undermines the democratic process including any delay in the inauguration scheduled for November 17.
“The United States will consider appropriate measures against anyone who undermines democracy, rule of law or free and fair electoral process of the Maldives,” Paladino said.
During her meeting with Solih, Wells emphasised that the US is willing to extend cooperation to his government and to assist the Maldives in its return to the democratic path.
“The United States urges all parties to respect the will of the Maldivian people and to ensure smooth and peaceful transition,” Paladino added.
Yameen’s shock defeat was widely reported as a blow to China, which financed his administration’s flagship infrastructure projects with loans in excess of a billion dollars, drawing accusations of a debt trap from the main opposition party.