The Commonwealth Observer Group to Maldives, constituted by Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma in August at the invitation of the Elections Commission of Maldives, was first in the country from 31 August to 14 September to observe the 7 September presidential election. It was also there from 27 September to 2 October. The 7 September presidential election was later annulled by the country’s Supreme Court.
Dr Lawrence Gonzi, former Prime Minister of Malta, is again leading the Group for the elections on Saturday, 19 October 2013.
Speaking from Malé, the capital of Maldives, on 17 October, Dr Gonzi said, “I hope that all Maldivians will play their part to ensure that the 19 October election is conducted in a credible and peaceful manner, so that the people of Maldives can exercise their fundamental right to choose their President”.
The Commonwealth Observer Group’s mandate is to observe and consider all aspects of the electoral process and assess compliance with the standards for democratic elections to which Maldives has committed itself. Where appropriate, the group can also make recommendations for the future strengthening of the electoral framework.
Commonwealth Observer Groups act impartially and independently and conduct themselves according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.
The Commonwealth Observer Group to the 2013 Maldives elections will submit its final report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the Government of Maldives, the Elections Commission of Maldives, Maldivian political parties and eventually to all Commonwealth governments.
The nine-member Commonwealth Observer Group has been in Malé since 16 October, and will stay until 23 October. It is supported by officials of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Composition of the Commonwealth Observer Group to Maldives
Dr Lawrence Gonzi
Former Prime Minister
Mr Hugh Craft
Ms Elizabeth Ohene
Former Minister and Media Expert
Prof Lisa Vasciannie
Mr Yusmadi Yusoff
Former Member of Parliament
Ms Kate Wilkinson
Member of Parliament
Dr Alphonse Gelu
Registrar of Political Parties
Papua New Guinea
Ms Lindiwe Mokate
Commissioner, Human Rights Commission
Mr John Turner