US pledges US$500,000 for elections assistance in the Maldives

The US government has pledged US$500,000 (Rf7.7 million) for an elections programme  to assist Maldivian institutions in ensuring a free and fair presidential election.

The program will be made available from July 2012, said Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Colombo, Valerie Fowler.

Meeting the press on Thursday afternoon in the Maldives National Art Gallery, Fowler said the US would also “work with the Commonwealth to help the Maldives work through the current situation to elections”.

The US will lend any support, including technical assistance, to ensure the next presidential election in the Maldives is conducted “smoothly and observed the rule of law”, Fowler said.

“Through USAID we are in the process of starting an election programme that will assist Maldivian institutions in ensuring a free and fair presidential election. We have allocated US$500,000 to start that process and anticipate that we can begin as soon as July 2012,” Fowler noted.

Referring to the discussions she held with political parties during her trip, Fowler said “I echoed our call on all sides to maintain an open and transparent dialogue and use Maldivian mechanisms to resolve the political situation”.

She acknowledged the opening of parliament sessions as a positive step forward and highlighted the need to amend the Police Act and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Act – both pre-date the constitution – in order to depoliticise the country’s security forces. Meanwhile, Fowler said she was pleased to be told that important national legislations such as the Penal Code, Criminal and Civil Procedure Codes and the Evidence Act were under committee review.

However, Fowler noted that the US believed there needed to be an “environment conducive to early elections”, an aim that could only be created through dialogue, as well as capacity building measures.

“We hope the political party talks will resume in the coming days. These talks represent a positive avenue for progress when each of the parties participates with an open mind. In addition, we call upon parties to support the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI),” she said.

Deposed former President Mohamed Nasheed and his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has declined to cooperate with three-seat CNI appointed by President Waheed, citing unilateralism and lack of independence and international participation.

Nasheed alleges that he was forced to resign “under duress” in an opposition-backed coup, in which he alleges Dr Waheed was complicit.

Asked whether the US recognises Dr Waheed’s government’s legitimacy, Fowler said “we do not recongise individuals, we recognise states and we are in fact working very closely with the government of the Maldives”.

However, she added: “A full and impartial investigation into the circumstances that prompted former President Nasheed to resign is necessary, and we look forward to the report of the commission.”

Responding to the concerns raised over independence of the Inquiry Commission and a possible US role in the investigation, Fowler observed, “we have not received any requests from the government to help the (CNI) commission of inquiry’s work” but “we understand the government of Maldives is working closely with the Commonwealth’s special envoy.”

According to Fowler, “Assistant Secretary Robert Blake has been in regular contact with Special Envoy Sir Donald McKinnon, and we expect to work closely with the Commonwealth, both in terms of policy and technical support, to help the Maldives work through the current situation to elections.”

She also said that the US appreciated the work of other international parties and noted that it was in touch with Indian Foreign Secretary Shri Ranjan Mathai – a key figure within ‘roadmap’ talks aimed at facilitating early elections.

Fowler added that both the US and the wider international community would be paying close attention to bi-elections scheduled for April 14, where several parties are fiercely competing over two vacated seats in parliament.

“These elections, the first since transfer of power, must be transparent and the results accepted as fairly achieved in order to avoid making the political situation even more challenging,” she contended.

“This is an important time in Maldives history.  The Maldives has a well earned reputation and international standing as being a moderate, progressive young democracy. Further domestic conflict and instability will hurt that reputation and has the potential to do significant damage to international tourism in the Maldives,” Fowler concluded.


13 thoughts on “US pledges US$500,000 for elections assistance in the Maldives”

  1. Lubna, I am very impressed with the quality of your writing and reporting. Young journalists like you give me hope in such gloomy times. Bravo!

  2. Waheed's biggest mistake is to put PPM, especially Dunya Maumoon in Foreign Ministry.
    How can Waheed convince the international community that Maumoon is not behind the change of power or that this is not a coup when he has to send Dunya Maumoon to the international offices to tell this?

    Clearly, the Foreign Ministry is incapable of doing their work.
    Now, the Americans are pledging half a million dollars to help hold an early election. Very soon we will see the whole international community asking for an early election.

    Foreign Ministry should be completely saved from the clutches of PPM and Maumoon family should be marginalised if Waheed is to show any credibility to the international community.
    How long do we have to wait before Waheed realises this?

  3. May Allah be blessed!
    Let the people decide and have they say as in any fair democracy. We have earned the right 4 years ago - don't take that from us and expect us to settle for your Police state dictatorship Traitor Waheed!


  4. USA is the home of democracy - we celebrate their intervention and support for an early democratic election.


  5. @ the USA
    Thank you for supporting an early democratic election. Now there are no excuses for an early election and peace and stability can be returned to the Maldives.

    However, please guaranttee that an "IMPARTIAL" committee with "INTERNATIONAL" involvement to oversee the judgement. Remember, the current regime our Gayooms children.

  6. May the charade, greed, lies and bully Police state face a fair and true election!

    However, equal media coverage needs to be in place first? All of the media is owned by the current regime which is totally unfair. The regime even took over the media on the morning of the coup - that is what coup's are like.

  7. Money spent on de-politicizing the armed forces now would be a waste. I wonder what programs have the US envisioned?

    Tougher laws would help, with a reliable military justice system. For that to begin, current leadership has to go.

    Many countries have the death penalty for treason. For a good reason too, soldiers have real power, this power is derived from the people to protect and serve them. A strong deterrent is needed for them not to abuse this power.

    A US soldier was found guilty of misconduct by a military panel and dismissed a few days ago. His crime? He criticized Obama on Facebook. We need the same high standards of discipline.

  8. Ummm.......please read the fine script people.

    The US is providing funds to strengthen institutions to pave the way for free and fair elections.

    There is no mention of early elections and certainly no indication that an election is to be held in 2012.

    The disbursement of funds in 2012 requires that such funds be put to use for programs and projects developed jointly by the GoM and USAID. These funds then will be put to use to implement those programs. Following implementation there will be M&E stages and everything else in between in a donor-aid funded project.

    You've been misled by poor reporting from Raajje TV but this article clearly does not stoop to that level. However you need to read it more carefully to understand what the US is doing.

    I guess you have to work in government to know that funds disbursed in the middle of the year cannot be put to good use within two or three months. Do the math and make a better assessment of whose side the US is on. The answer is, no political party in the Maldives. They have made the wise choice of building institutions in the country rather than promoting the agenda of one political junta. Yay for the US and down with Shenk et. al. who are trying to sell an unbelievable tribute to their fantasy characterization of Nasheed as some type of Messiah. Down with Nasheed, the false prophet of climate change. Up with the Maldives and our efforts to prevent democracy from sliding back to dictatorship.

  9. "Up with the Maldives and our efforts to prevent democracy from sliding back to dictatorship"

    Ahaa thats Doublespeak not English.

    For readers who do not understand tsks Doublespeak please swap the words "dictatorship" and "democracy". The sentence would then make sense in context with the rest of his comment.

  10. Quote:However, Fowler noted that the US believed there needed to be an “environment conducive to early elections”, an aim that could only be created through dialogue, as well as capacity building measures.Unquote

    Obviously, tsk tsk on Sat, 7th Apr 2012 12:58 PM has NOT read the fine print.

  11. Let's hope that this banana government does not put that money into their own pockets to go and spend it back in the US...hehehe..

  12. Dunya Maumoon says "No Elections".

    So, Americans, please take back the money now, a-

    Oh wait, the illicit government has used it all on heroin. Sorry about that.

  13. @tsk tsk on Sat, 7th Apr 2012 12:58 PM

    "The US is providing funds to strengthen institutions to pave the way for free and fair elections."

    Why are you going ahead with two parliamentary elections? Do they not need the same exacting standards as other elections? Do you have different standards for different elections? Care to spell out these standards?

    As per your argument and the official position of the Maldivian regime, ANY election held before these institutions are "strengthened" should be void.

    Now, the lie is bare for all to see. These are the best excuses the crooks in the regime could come up with, in order to stall the international community and hold the country to ransom.


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