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Commonwealth Secretary-General Statement on Maldives

19 October 2013
Statement by: Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said today that he is extremely concerned by the further stalling of the democratic process in Maldives, following the stopping this morning of the scheduled 19 October presidential election.

This latest development follows the postponement by the Maldivian Supreme Court of the second round of the election scheduled for 28 September and the subsequent annulment of the 7 September first round election.

The Secretary-General noted that the continuing delay is of deep concern, given that the term of the current government will expire on 11 November 2013.

Mr Sharma said: "I cannot stress firmly enough how critical it is for all state institutions and presidential candidates to cooperate in good faith to ensure that this election can take place as soon as possible. It is essential that the independent Elections Commission is able to conduct an election, consistent with international electoral standards, without any unnecessary delay.

"The people of Maldives have already demonstrated, on 7 September, their strong desire to cast their votes and express their collective will. It is the moral responsibility of political leaders and those who hold positions of authority to ensure that the Maldivian people can exercise their fundamental constitutional right to elect their president."

The Secretary-General said he would continue to monitor developments very closely in the coming days, given the fundamental importance of democratic values to the Commonwealth.

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