Commonwealth envoy returns for pre-election visit

Commonwealth Special Envoy for the Maldives will arrive in the Maldives today for a pre-election visit.

“Sir Donald McKinnon, will visit Male’ from 3 to 7 November 2013, as part of his continuing engagement with Maldives to promote the consolidation of democracy, and Commonwealth values and principles,” read a statement on the Commonwealth Secretariat’s website.

During the Supreme Court’s investigation of alleged voter fraud during the first round of the presidential election on September 7, McKinnon advocated strongly for the second round to proceed as scheduled.

“This election marks a renewal of the country’s democratic credentials, with an 88 percent voter turnout. This displays a determination to get the country back on to a sound democratic foundation,” McKinnon said.

International opinion was “firmly behind” the second round of elections proceeding as planned on September 28, he said, noting that “There are always losers in every election everywhere, but the winners here must be the people of Maldives. The results of their votes must be paramount to the process and the result.”

The complaints lodged by third-placed candidate Gasim Ibrahim of the Jumhooree Party eventually resulted in the decision to annul the first round and to repeat the poll on October 19.

Further complications related to the court’s prescriptive verdict resulted in the eventual delay of the re-vote, with the latest date set for this coming Saturday (November 9).