LONDON, CMC – Former Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding will lead a Commonwealth group to observe the Maldives parliamentary elections next month, the London–based Commonwealth Secretariat announced Tuesday.
It said that Golding led a Commonwealth Observer Group to Maldives elections in 2014 and that the group will be deployed to various provinces from April 4l and return to Male four days later to consider its report.
The Secretariat said that despite withdrawing from the Commonwealth in 2016, Maldives recently expressed an interest in re-joining and that as part of this process, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has requested a group to observe the vote, scheduled for April 6.
The Secretariat said that the observer group’s report on the election will contribute to the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland’s informal assessment of the Maldives’ re-application.
“I am extremely pleased to be deploying a group to observe the elections. Its report on the electoral process will give member countries a clear view of adherence to Commonwealth values in Maldives, including democracy and rule of law and protection of human rights such as freedom of expression,’ she said.
“Our Heads of Government will then decide whether Maldives should be invited to make a formal application to re-join the Commonwealth. On behalf of the Commonwealth Observer Group, I wish the people of Maldives well as they embark upon this important step in strengthening the democratic culture of their country.”
The group will comprise eminent persons drawn from across the Commonwealth with backgrounds in election management, law, civil society, politics and diplomacy, among others. It will submit its final report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will forward it to the Maldives government, Election Commission of Maldives, and political parties taking part in the elections and to the governments of all Commonwealth member countries before being made public, the statement said.
The group is expected to arrive in Maldives on 30 March and return on 13 April.
The statement said that a Commonwealth Secretariat team led by Yvonne Apea-Mensah, Head of Africa at the Governance and Peace Directorate, will support the group.