Delegation from Commonwealth in Maldives to observe election

Members of the Commonwealth Observer Group in Maldives to observe the Parliamentary Elections 2019. (Photo/Commonwealth)

A delegation from Commonwealth is in Maldives to observe the parliamentary elections scheduled for coming Saturday.

The Commonwealth Observer Group in Maldives is made up of eight observers and is led by former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, reports the organization.

The group arrived in Maldives on March 30, and has since received briefings in Male’ City from the Elections Commission (EC), political parties, Maldives Police Service, independent institutions, civil society and foreign diplomats stationed in Maldives.

Maldives left the Commonwealth in 2016 but has now applied to rejoin the organization.

Golding, in his arrival statement, noted that it was not standard Commonwealth protocol to observe elections held in non-member countries, but that an exception was made given Maldives has applied to re-join the Commonwealth.

“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,” said Golding.

“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,” he added.

Golding reports the group’s mandate is to observe and evaluate the pre-election period, polling day, and the post-election period.

 The observers are scheduled to be deployed to the atolls this Thursday, where they will observe the campaign environment ahead of the polling day, engage with relevant stakeholders, and observe the voting and counting processes on election day.

The group will present its preliminary findings at a press conference on April 9, in Male’ City, and the final report will be submitted to the Secretary-General of Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland. The final report will be released to the public at a later stage.

The Commonwealth Observer Group:

  • Bruce Golding, former Prime Minister of Jamaica
  • Bruce Hatch, Electoral Expert, Canada
  • Nitin Pai, Co-Founder and Director, Takshashila Institution, India
  • George Morara Monyoncho, Vice Chairperson, National Commission for Human Rights, Kenya
  • Maryan Street, former Minister of Housing, New Zealand
  • Miatta French, Commissioner, National Electoral Commission, Sierra Leone
  • Peter Pursglove, Senior Counsel, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Linda Duffield, former High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Sri Lanka and Maldives, and former CEO of Westminster Foundation for Democracy

Past Maldivian national elections observed by Commonwealth include the first multi-party elections in 2008 and 2009, the Presidential Elections in 2013 and the Parliamentary Elections in 2014.