Maldives' president says preparing to step down with no regrets on any decisions

FILE PHOTO: Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen speaks as he gives a statement at President office in Male, Maldives September 24, 2018. President Media//Handout via REUTERS

MALE (Reuters) - The president of the Maldives, Abdulla Yameen, said on Wednesday he had no complaints or reservations about any of his decisions while in office, and that he was preparing to step down, despite having challenged his election defeat in court.

In a surprise result, Yameen lost his re-election bid last month and initially conceded defeat. Last week, however, his lawyers went to the Supreme Court, saying his supporters had complained about rigging of votes and fraudulent ballot papers.

In a televised speech on Wednesday, Yameen said all his decisions when in power were made in the interest of the people.

“Even today, as I prepare to take leave from official duties, I would like to say that I have no complaints or reservations about my decisions,” he said.

Yameen is due to hand over power next month, but the opposition has flagged concerns that he could prolong the transition in the Indian Ocean island that has been in upheaval since February, when he imposed a state of emergency.

On Sunday, hundreds of Maldivians demanded Yameen’s arrest as the Supreme Court began hearing his election challenge. It has yet to deliver a verdict.

“I did everything I had to do on behalf of the majority of Maldivians or in the interests of the nation. So, even today, I won’t say I regret it,” Yameen added.

Reporting by Mohamed Junayd; Writing by Euan Rocha; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Clarence Fernandez