US warns against any attempt to undermine democratic process in Maldiveshttps://indianexpress.com/article/world/us-warns-against-any-attempt-to-undermine-democratic-process-in-maldives-5396672/

US warns against any attempt to undermine democratic process in Maldives

The outgoing Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the election results in which he was defeated. 

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen casts his vote at a polling station during the presidential election in Male, Maldives September 23, 2018. President Media//Handout via REUTERS.

The United States has warned against any attempt to undermine the democratic process in the Maldives, saying it will take appropriate steps against any such move.

The warning was delivered on Wednesday by a top American diplomat, currently on a visit to the Maldives, during a meeting with leaders and officials of the country.

“The United States and our partners view with great concern any attempt to undermine the democratic process. It is critical that the will of the Maldivian people be respected and upheld,” a State Department spokesperson told PTI after the outgoing Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the election results in which he was defeated.

“We noted before the election that the United States would consider appropriate measures against any individuals who undermined democracy, the rule of law, and a free and fair electoral process in Maldives,” the spokesperson said.

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Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells was in Maldives Tuesday and Wednesday, where she met with current Maldivian government officials, the President-elect and civil society leaders.

“As Wells noted to President-elect Solih during their meeting Wednesday, we are looking at what resources and tools the US government can bring to bear to assist Maldives in its return to a democratic path and in ensuring greater security and prosperity in the Indian Ocean,” the spokesperson said in response to a question.

“We are keen to support Maldivian initiatives to strengthen democracy, improve governance, root out corruption, enhance security, promote economic development and bilateral trade and investment, and protect the environment,” the State Department official said.

At her meeting with President-elect Solih, Wells pledged American support for his government and noted that the United States expected a peaceful and timely transfer of power.