A Commonwealth Observer Group is in Maldives to witness the country’s 11th parliamentary election, scheduled for 6 April.
After withdrawing from the Commonwealth in 2016, Maldives has recently expressed an interest in re-joining the organisation. As part of this process, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih requested a Commonwealth group to observe the national vote.
The former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, is leading the group of eight observers. They arrived in Male, the capital, on 30 March and will be deployed to various atolls to observe pre-poll preparations, voting day and the collation of results. They received briefings in Male from the elections commission, political parties, the police, independent institutions, civil society and diplomatic community.
In his arrival statement, Prime Minister Golding said: “Our Group is particularly mindful that while the Commonwealth does not usually observe elections in non-member countries, an exception is made for countries that have applied to join or re-join the Commonwealth, as in the case of Maldives.
“Our report will inform the Secretary-General’s ongoing assessment of Maldives’ commitment to adhere to the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values, as part of the re-application process. This, therefore, is not a task we take lightly. In conducting our duties and undertaking our assessment, we will be objective, impartial and independent. The Group's assessment will be its own, and not that of any member country of the Commonwealth.”
Following the election, the Group will present their preliminary findings at a press conference on 9 April in Male. Their final report will be submitted to the Secretary-General and will be made available to the public at a later stage.
The Observer Group is composed of: