International community welcomes end of democratic uncertainty, notes high voter turnout

The international community has welcomed the conclusion of the Maldivian electoral process, after two months and six attempts at polls that suffered delays, annulments and obstruction.

Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Yameen was sworn in as President yesterday, after a last-minute coalition with resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim netted him 51.39 percent in Saturday’s run-off vote against former President Mohamed Nasheed.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) recalled its earlier decision to place the Maldives on its agenda due to concerns about democratic progress in the country.

“Ministers welcomed the successful conclusion of the presidential election and noted the interim statement of the Commonwealth Observer Group, which stated that the election had been “credible and peaceful”. They congratulated the people of Maldives for showing their firm commitment to democracy, and for exercising their franchise in record numbers,” read a statement.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also observed in a statement that people in the Maldives “turned out to vote in impressive numbers, showing their determination to choose their next president, despite the many obstacles and delays.”

“The close contest highlights the need for the new administration to engage the opposition in a constructive manner and to lead the country in the interest of all Maldivians,” the UN statement read.

“The Secretary-General strongly urges all political leaders, state institutions and the Maldivian people to work urgently toward genuine reconciliation and to advance the country’s democratic process through long-term institutional reforms, in particular strengthening the judiciary and accountability mechanisms, and promoting a national dialogue.”

The UK’s State Minister for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire, said he “congratulates the people of the Maldives for showing their commitment to democracy, as evidenced by the very high turnout in the presidential election.”

“I urge the new government and the opposition to work together constructively in the interests of all Maldivians and to avoid any acts of recrimination or retribution,” said Swire, who is currently visiting the Maldives,

“It is important that the forthcoming local and parliamentary elections go ahead in line with work of the Elections Commission and are not subject to the delay and legal interventions that marred the presidential elections. The UK looks forward to working with the new government,” he added.

The US Embassy in Colombo congratulated Yameen on his election as president, noting that “extraordinarily high turnout on November 16 was a tribute to the Maldivian people’s commitment to the democratic process and democratic values. The United States Government reiterates its friendship with the Maldivian people as they work to build a peaceful and prosperous future.”

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird declared: “After a turbulent period in the Maldives’ young democracy, a new government has finally been elected. Canada congratulates the people of the Maldives for once again exercising their fundamental democratic right to vote in a peaceful manner, under the capable stewardship of the Elections Commission.”

“Confidence in the democratic process has been seriously undermined since the events of last year, particularly by the Supreme Court’s repeated delays to this election,” Baird noted.

“After such a close result, it is now incumbent upon President Abdulla Yameen to begin the process of reconciliation and govern for the whole country. Former President Mohamed Nasheed, the nation’s first democratically elected President, has shown magnanimity in defeat, and hopes for the future will be raised if all parties come together to establish positive working relations,” he stated.

“Democracy is not just about the counting of ballot papers – it is about principled voting, a strong civil society, a trusted judiciary, free media, effective opposition and responsible governance. It is a journey, not a destination. Canada and the international community will remain watchful for progress in this journey.”


10 thoughts on “International community welcomes end of democratic uncertainty, notes high voter turnout”

  1. My only hope is that the int'l community would adopt the overly indulgent attitude it had with regards to the Nasheed administration.

    Anything that threatens to destabilize the country should be highlighted and the reaction should be more public and well-documented in order to keep our politicians and line and ensure the stability necessary to secure US/Indian interests in the region.

    The int'l community can do a lot towards funding legal training to develop the judiciary and helping the government phase out or develop the public-funded legal training institutions used to churn out political activists with suspicious qualififcations who are often inserted into the judiciary or act in parallel with it to secure vested interests. Foreign investment and political stability would depend in large part on a well-functioning judiciary.

    The int'l community would also do well to do its best to reach out to the supporters of PPM/JP/Adalat who are becoming ever more xenophobic by the day as a simple backlash to the general preference to engage with the outward-looking activists and members of the MDP. While it is PPM/JP/Adalat's own fault, the int'l community must ensure that its engagement with the Maldives is seen as neutral or at best beneficial to both sides.

    Another factor that would help maintain stability is to continue engaging with the Maldives Police Service which at present is just a government militia who fails to command the respect or love of either side of the political divide.

  2. The international community dodged a bullet with this election. Now they can stop pretending they care and go back to ignoring the sinking ship. Of course they'll continue to issue useless statements and reports on cleaning up the courts (that Yameen and company will happily ignore). There certainly won't be a free and fair election in 5 years. But half the country voted for that so I guess you get what you ask for.

  3. President Yameen took a condescending tone in addressing foreign journalists during the press conference on the eve of his election victory. His VP elect sniggering at his every insolent remark made it more reminiscent of a press conference address by victorious a WWF Wrestlers than elected officials to high office.

    President Yameen also "did not have the time" to meet the UK’s State Minister for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire. He did have time to indulge in older brother PPM Zaeem paying a visit to "congratulate him on behalf of the party" though.

    The new govt has hit the ground running in terms of foreign policy. Keep hoping Tsk Tsk.

  4. Husni Mabarak ruled Egypt for almost 30 years under laws of a state of emergency. Military and police rule is preferable to civilian rule in dictatorial regimes. In Egypt, the armed forces are still above the law.

    Will Maldives do better than Egypt, and implement true democracy? I doubt they will, and I doubt they can.

    As for Western countries supporting MDP's Mohamed Nasheed, the reason they support Mohamed Nasheed is because of the way Mohamed Nasheed has projected himself to the West. He is a famous and wellknown brand here in the West, even in Finland.

    Look at what Mohamed Nasheed has done against heavy odds. Look at his permanent smile and his democratic credentials, his life and his sacrifices.

    Mohamed Nasheed is a totally different type of person from other party leaders in the Maldives. If you look at the recent election results, you will see that he is clearly the most popular politician, by far, in our country today.

    Don't blame the West for their admiration of Mohamed Nasheed.

  5. The international community does not give a shit. This is by no means a free and fair elections, All this has been well orchestrated and planned. The intervention /annulment of the Supreme Court, police, the super corrupt judges.
    Without the support of the coalition PPM Yamin did not stand a chance.
    The old vicious circle is back and history is repeating itself. Look at the cabinet decision. All losers.

  6. They are a bunch of jokers who don't care much about Maldivians. They saw the tactics we employed to dry up MDP funds by blocking multiple attempts by the EC and we used Qasim as the tool. We ordered the judges what must be done and we with impunity broke almost every law of the EC. What can they do or where can they go to stop us? Police, judiciary or Military?. Ha ha. We reign supreme and now Nasheed and MDP can say goodbye to their ambitions for a good 30 years again. No body can play the fool with us anymore. Qasim, Imran Riyas or n
    Nasheed. They just have to bear with us if they need to survive. Remember Qasim's pledge. He is prepared to clean the toilets if necessary. That is the submission we will get and our highly capable Royal family will bring back decipline and prosperity to our land during this 5 years

  7. I hope the internationally community understands how the voter turnout was so high and how so few votes were invalid. At best the actual voters would have been 85%. Spread all over the world, so many ppl were unable to register or be where they originally registered to be and so were unable to vote. The only way a 51% was received was only by crooked means for sure. In any case, the deed is done. Yameen and his crooked crew can now bury their debts and carry out a reign of terror and oppression.

  8. Yes at last we have got a legal govt. But it's disheartening to note same cabinet ministers appointed again. Some of them played a key role in toppling the govt. On 7 February 2012. Our new Leader is knows that Majlis will reject some of them. So he feels safe. He has done his bit but then Majlis rejected. Good thinking.


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