UK welcomes steps towards “free, fair” elections, calls for “peaceful transition to post electoral politics”

UK Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has issued a statement welcoming confirmation from the Maldives’ Elections Commission “that the chosen candidates of all political parties will be able to participate in the presidential elections this coming September”.

All four candidates seeking the presidency have been accepted by the commission, and the five day period to contest those candidacies in the Supreme Court expired last week.

The four candidates from top to bottom on the ballot paper are Gasim Ibrahim (Jumhoree Party), Dr Mohamed Waheed (independent, incumbent president), Abdulla Yameen (Progressive Party of the Maldives) and Mohamed Nasheed (Maldivian Democratic Party, former President).

“It is vital for the good of the citizens in this young democracy that both campaigning and elections are judged to be free, fair and peaceful,” said Burt.

“We hope that all parties will honour free and fair election results and work to ensure a peaceful transition to post electoral politics. No matter who wins, cooperation between political parties will be vital in order to work for the good of the Maldivian people, and consolidate democratic institutions,” he added.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s candidacy in the upcoming elections was contested last year following the filing of charges in the Hulhumale Magistrate Court over his detention of Chief Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed, in the days leading up to Nasheed’s controversial resignation.

Nasheed and the MDP contested that the charges were a politically motivated attempt to prevent him contesting the election, and challenged the authority of the court and the appointment of the panel of judges.

Both the court and the panel had been appointed by the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), which included several of Nasheed’s direct political opponents, including a rival presidential candidate, Gasim Ibrahim.

The international community reacted with calls for the presidential election to be “free, fair and inclusive”, and concerns over the state of the judiciary and the impartiality of the JSC were echoed in a special report by UN Special Rapporteur Gabriela Knaul.

“It is indeed difficult to understand why one former President is being tried for an act he took outside of his prerogative, while another has not had to answer for any of the alleged human rights violations documented over the years,” wrote Knaul, following her Maldives mission in February 2013.

The Nasheed trial subsequently stalled at the high court level, after Chief Judge of the High Court Ahmed Shareef issued an injunction.

A day later the JSC suspended Shareef for what it claimed was an unrelated matter. He is currently contesting his suspension in court.

Meanwhile, despite initial reluctance, Gasim stepped down from his position on the JSC in accordance with the commission’s regulation on members seeking elected political posts.

Nasheed’s candidacy was accepted by the Elections Commission on July 18.

“Today we submitted the election forms and begin the task of restoring democracy to our country. It has been a slippery slope but we have come a long way. Despite all the barriers and hurdles that were put in our way, we never gave up,” Nasheed stated, in a subsequent press conference.

Approximately 240,000 Maldivians will be eligible to vote in the September 7 election. Transparency Maldives, in its pre-election assessment, meanwhile warned that the election was set to unfold against a “crisis of legitimation, uncertainty of democratic transition, existing polarisations and other challenges that have been aggravated by the controversial transfer of power on 7 February 2012.”

“Political polarisation in the Maldives has grown in the wake of the failed all-party talks and events of February 7, leading to bitter mistrust between political factions and the pervading sense among parties that the loss of the upcoming elections ‘could amount to losing everything’,” Transparency stated.

Transparency will participate in monitoring the election, along with the UK, EU, Commonwealth and UN.


9 thoughts on “UK welcomes steps towards “free, fair” elections, calls for “peaceful transition to post electoral politics””

  1. Free and fair elections!

    What we need freedom from is not the physical shackles. We need freedom from mind-numbing jail created by the arrogant Arabian donkeys.

    We need to be free to think as humans. We need to enjoy freedom, be a society, care for each other, help each other etc... Instead of being the self-centred attitude of 'I-only-care-about-my-way-to-heaven'.

    Mordisians are pathetic. We get treated like stray dogs in the god-forsaken wastelands of Arabian deserts. Literally. In Hajj and Umrah tourism sprees we get allocated tents, with1000 to 1, extremely unhygienic toilet facilities, yet, we lick these goats' butts and justify the insult of sub-human treatment with ' the worse the conditions are, the better the afterlife rewards for my Hajj!'.

    Sad to say, we need freedom from the Arab-wild pigs! Can UK help us?

  2. 240,000 people are eligible to vote. We can expect around 60% to turn out. Here's the crystal ball forecast:

    (1) MDP: 74880 (52%)
    (2) JP: 28800 (20%)
    (3) PPM: 21600 (15%)

    The rest are irrelevant.

  3. I fear for the Maldives. The Star Forces are capable of anything. We have seen that from the coup of 7 February 2012.

    I am not in the Maldives right now, but I have followed the initiative of rukkuri by Abdul Sattar Yoosuf and lit a candle for the nation of my birth for light, for prosperity for peace and for healing. And I will vote Insha Allah.

    To those of you who get approached with bribes, just find the courage to say NO. Allah will reward you.

  4. I'm sure the September elections will be free and fair and all involved will behave in a civilized manner. Looking forward to watching the mess unfold.

  5. My assumptions during 2008 elections were very accurate.. so here goes for 2013 🙂

    First Round
    MDP - 35%
    JP Coalition - 26%
    PPM - 24%
    Waheed - 15%

    Second Round
    JP + larger Coalition - 58%
    MDP - 42%

  6. @Andrew: “We need to… care for each other, help each other etc…”

    Beautiful Brother.

    When some Politicians use the word Justice, smack them in the mouth.

    Because they degrade and bastardize the grand concept of Justice to make justice mean their own petty, selfish need for vengeance.

    Justice means – giving ALL what they deserve.

    This means, amongst other things, giving every human being respect, dignity, the right to education and access to basic health services without having to patronise another.

    ANYTHING which degrades the dignity of a fellow human is an INJUSTICE.

    Small hearts create small minds.


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