A Commonwealth group is observing Maldives’ 2019 parliamentary elections as the nation elects 87 members to parliament for the next five years.
The former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, is chairing the group of eight Commonwealth observers. He was at Kurumba Island in Male atoll when the voting started. During the day, he will visit polling stations in the capital to observe how the elections are being carried out.
Prime Minister Golding said: “This election is an opportunity for the people of Maldives to continue to shape and strengthen their democracy by voting for leaders who are committed to realising their aspirations.
“On behalf of the observers, I wish the people of Maldives well as they prepare once again to exercise their democratic right to vote.”
This is Maldives’ 11th parliamentary elections and 386 candidates from 10 political parties are competing in the poll today.
264,442 Maldivians are registered to vote according the Election Commission of Maldives. 501 ballot boxes have been set up across the country and additional eight ballot boxes are available overseas.
Observers have been deployed to various atolls in small teams since 4 April. They observed the campaign environment in those areas ahead of the polling day. They were present when the voting began this morning at 8.00 am and will observe voting and counting processes until polls close at 4.00 pm.
The Chair, Prime Minister Golding, will present the group’s initial findings at a press conference on 9 April in Male and a final report will be made available to the public at a later stage.
After withdrawing from the Commonwealth in 2016, Maldives has recently expressed an interest in re-joining the organisation. The Election Commission of Maldives invited the Commonwealth to observe the April elections. The findings of the observers will be considered as part of the Secretary-General’s ongoing informal assessment of Maldives reapplication.