Maldives’ fraught elections get seal of approval

Presidential elections in the Maldives have finally got the thumbs up from the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), following concerns about the first round of elections that saw one unsuccessful party fi ling a case with the Supreme Court alleging electoral fraud. 

At a session held during CHOGM in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in November 2013, CMAG expressed its approval of the successful conclusion of the elections, conveying its best wishes to the new President, Abdulla Yameen. 

The people of the Maldives were congratulated for proving their commitment to democracy and for turning out at the polling stations in record numbers, contributing to what the Commonwealth Observer Group called a “credible and peaceful” election (see Election Watch, page 15). 

Having previously expressed their deep disappointment that the Maldives presidential election process had not concluded prior to the expiration of Mohamed Waheed’s term in office, the news that a successful election had taken place was well received by the group. 

A replacement chair and vice-chair were also elected for the newly reconstituted group, with Bernard K. Membe, the Foreign Minister of Tanzania, becoming the new chairman and the role of vice-chairman going to Murray McCully, Foreign Minister of New Zealand. 

CMAG was originally established during CHOGM in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1995. The group is responsible for dealing with violations of the Harare Declaration, which outlines the core principles and values of the Commonwealth. CMAG undertakes the assessment of infringements and recommends suitable collective action within the Commonwealth to restore democracy and constitutional rule.


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