The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, said today that The Commonwealth is continuing to monitor developments in Maldives closely, following the holding of the first round of the presidential election on 7 September 2013.
A 17-member Commonwealth Observer Group, led by the former Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Lawrence Gonzi, was present in Maldives from 31 August to 14 September to observe the election.
“I was very pleased to learn of the positive findings of the Commonwealth Observer Group regarding the credibility of the 7 September election. The Commonwealth now looks forward to seeing a smooth and peaceful continuation of the electoral process already underway.”
The Secretary-General emphasised that the expression of the will of the people through the ballot box is fundamental to Commonwealth values.
“The Commonwealth Charter representing the will of our citizens and the commitment of our governments is clear. It states, ‘We recognise the inalienable right of individuals to participate in democratic processes, in particular through free and fair elections in shaping the society in which they live’,” the Secretary-General said.
The Secretary-General added that the Maldives’ September presidential election, when fully completed, would be a critical step forward in further consolidating democracy in Maldives, as had been previously encouraged and supported by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group.
Commonwealth observers will be returning to Maldives for the run-off round of the presidential election, scheduled for 28 September 2013.
The Secretary-General noted that his Special Envoy, Sir Donald McKinnon, also intended to remain closely informed and supportive of Maldives throughout the coming weeks.
The Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (CFNHRI) will be meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday 11 March for its 2014 Annual Meeting.