COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A losing candidate in the recent Maldives presidential election has gone to court seeking an annulment of the result, saying the voter's register contained the names of dead people or imaginary names.

The Jumhooree Party, or the Republican Party, which fielded tourist resort owner Qasim Ibrahim, said in a statement seen Monday that it took the decision because of what it called serious irregularities.

The Sept. 7 vote did not finish with a clear winner, and Ibrahim finished third, narrowly missing a run-off on Sept. 28 between the top two finishers.

Mohamed Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected president, won more than 45 percent of the vote but needed 50 percent to win. He will face Yaamin Abdul Qayyoom, a brother of the country's former autocratic leader Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom.

The Jumhooree Party statement alleged that there were voters below the legal voting age and that some names were repeated under different identification numbers.

The dispute showcases the challenges the young democracy faces, having held its first-ever multi-party election in 2008 after a 30-year autocratic rule.

An Election Commission spokesman denied the allegations. Speaking on condition of anonymity because the issue is before courts, he said the commission was confident that the election results will be held as valid.

 

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