US, UK, UN call for restraint, “inclusive” presidential elections

Foreign governments and international bodies have taken India’s lead, expressing concern over the political instability in the Maldives and emphasising the importance of all parties being able to put forward the candidates of their choice in the upcoming elections.

“Now that the President of the Election Commission of Maldives has announced that Presidential elections would be held on 7 September 2013, it is necessary that the Presidential nominees of recognised political parties be free to participate in the elections without any hindrance,” stated India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday, after former President Mohamed Nasheed sought refuge in its High Commission.

“Prevention of participation by political leaders in the contest would call into question the integrity of the electoral process, thereby perpetuating the current political instability in Maldives,” the MEA stated.

The United States Embassy in Colombo urged “all sides to remain calm, reject the use of violence, and avoid rhetoric that could increase tensions.”

“Former President Nasheed must be accorded due process under the law regarding his pending court cases,” the US Embassy said in a statement.

“We urge that the Presidential elections scheduled for September 7, 2013 be free, fair, credible, transparent and inclusive. The integrity of and public confidence in the Maldivian electoral process must be maintained.

“Accordingly, we note that all parties participating in these elections should be able to put forward the candidate of their choice. We continue to urge all parties to chart a way forward that respects Maldivian democratic institutions, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the US added.

The UK issued a statement similarly calling for calm and restraint.

“During FCO Minister Alistair Burt’s recent visit to Maldives, he said it was vital that the country move decisively towards free, fair and inclusive Presidential elections. He also stressed the importance of all parties being able to participate in elections with the candidate of their choice. It is important for all parties to avoid taking action which could lead to doubt over the integrity of the electoral process and contribute to continuing instability,” the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office stated.

The UN Secretary General’s office stated that it was “monitoring the developments with concern”, and urged “all political actors to exercise restraint, renew their commitment to the constitution and work toward creating conducive conditions for fair, peaceful and inclusive elections.”

“All parties contesting the September 7 presidential elections should be able to field the candidates of their choice in accordance with the rule of law and the constitution,” the UN stated.

Transparency Maldives (TM), which will locally be conducting an extensive program of election monitoring, meanwhile expressed “deep concern over the continuing political polarisations and tensions that have strained the democratic gains from the past elections,” and called for all sides to “guarantee and sustain an environment conducive for free and fair and fully inclusive elections.”

“As such, there is an immediate need for the political and State leadership to resort to a process of negotiations towards addressing the challenges for free and fair and fully inclusive elections. At the heart of such a process should be showing leadership and a spirit of compromise that we saw during the pre-election and post-election period of the 2008 Presidential Elections,” Transparency stated.

Government speaks to India

Following India’s initial warning that a failure to allow all political leaders to contest the elections would call into question the integrity of the electoral process and perpetuate instability, the Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministry declared it was “unfortunate that the Government of India has decided to comment on the types of candidates that could contest the upcoming Presidential Elections in the Maldives scheduled for September 2013.”

“The independent Elections Commission has not, as of date, announced the candidates for the elections. Furthermore the Government firmly believes that the Elections Commission of Maldives is fully capable of evaluating and deciding eligibility of nominees in the elections and carrying forward a credible electoral process. To presume otherwise would be undermining the democratic institutions of the country and the progress achieved by the Maldives in consolidating its democracy,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Nasheed’s on-going trial “is a matter handled by two independent State institutions, namely the Prosecutor General and the judiciary. Like any other democratic country, the executive branch of the Government of Maldives cannot, under the Constitution of the Maldives, interfere with the independence of the judiciary, and will indeed ensure that the independence of the judiciary is always upheld.”

Home Minister Mohamed Jameel was more direct, telling local media yesterday that any attempts by another country to prevent a person from facing charges pressed by an independent Prosecutor General, could be described as interfering domestic matters of a sovereign state.

Jameel – formerly Justice Minister under Gayoom’s government – maintained that the charges levied against the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate were serious as they involved the “abduction of a senior judge”.

India’s Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid meanwhile spoke to his Maldivian counterpart Dr Samad Abdulla on Thursday (February 14).

Samad told Khurshid there were no court summons pending for Nasheed “but in the instance that such a summons is issued, Nasheed will have to attend the hearing.”

“Samad also said that it is unacceptable for any person to speak against this, as this is in accordance with the constitution of the Maldives,” read a translated statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to the MEA, Khurshid told Samad that India “has broad based contacts with all political parties and democratic institutions in the Maldives, without interfering in the internal affairs of the country”, as part of its “commitment to multi-party democracy.”

“India has stressed in the past that it would like to see free, fair, credible and inclusive elections leading up to a stable, peaceful and prosperous Maldives. India would be happy to work with the Government and all political parties in the facilitation of this objective,” the MEA stated.

Samad had assured Khurshid that the Maldivian government “would do its utmost to prevent any precipitate act that adversely affects the atmosphere for a free and fair democratic process and rule of law,” the MEA added.

Situation on the ground

Some protests took place on Thursday evening and there were reports of three arrests, less than those recorded the previous evening, which saw 16 arrests from a crowd of 1500 people.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said the party was planning protests on Friday evening from 9:00pm.

Nasheed has called for an interim caretaker government in the lead up to the elections. He remains inside the Indian High Commission, despite the government’s insistence he is free to move around after a warrant for his arrest issued by the Hulhumale Magistrate Court expired with the cancellation of Wednesday’s trial hearing.

“It is difficult to say [how long Nasheed will remain inside] because the situation is so fluid,” said Ghafoor.

“I don’t think he will stay any longer than he needs to. The focus is on finding an interim solution. The party has advised him not to leave. It is unthinkable for him to step outside, as he will be killed. None of us feel safe right now. We have no other choice,” he said.

Ghafoor said the party did not consider the Hulhumale’ court’s independence from the government or its independence, despite the government’s insistence to the contrary.

The Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court was created by the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) in violation of the Judicature Act, the MDP contend. The JSC has also appointed the three-member panel of judges hearing Nasheed’s case at the court.

“We do not trust warrants from this court,” Ghafoor said. “During the Supreme Court’s 4:3 decision favouring the legitimacy of the Hulhumale Magistrate Court, Supreme Court Judge Adam Mohamed went to the Supreme Court as an appellant. He is head of the JSC, he threw the casting vote in the Supreme Court decision, and the judiciary accepts this,” Ghafoor said.

“[Government-aligned] Jumhoree Party leader and resort owner Gasim Ibrahim is also a member of the JSC, which appointed the panel of judges. Gasim is a rival presidential candidate to Nasheed,” Ghafoor noted.

“This country is set to explode unless India helps us.”

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29 thoughts on “US, UK, UN call for restraint, “inclusive” presidential elections”

  1. correction: U.S,U.N calls for inclusive elections, U.K calls to declare nasheed the president for the next 47 years unconditionally

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  2. Go all the way. Destroy Adhaalath.

    General public needs to make a democratic decision, without intimidation. No hell-fire stories. No Jihad stories.

    Let the population be aware of the religions/no-religion the rest of the world follows, and then let them make a decision of their own accord. No intimidation.

    Then, we will have a democratic election of the President and the Government.

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  3. If the Judiciary of the Maldives is "independent" then the Pope is not Catholic! Two weeks ago, that well known anti-Semite, the Maldivian Home Minister Jameel called on the "independent" judiciary to "hurry the fcuk up" in prosecuting Nasheed! Yes, "independent", my foot.

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  4. “This country is set to explode unless India helps us.”

    Dear Hamid A Ghafoor, only you and your hoodlums are exploding. Everyone else just wants a normal life here.

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  5. no one is trying to MDP contesting in the election and I believe that free and fair election will happen in this country and the current government is very capable of doing the job.

    But if Nasheed is found guilty then he should not be allowed the contest in the election and then MDP should bring forward another candidate for the election.

    If MDP is Nasheed and if Nasheed is MDP, then there democracy within the party itself is questionable ?

    All previous plan Nasheed had planned was failed and he could not get much attention from the international community, he again did this stunt to bring his attention to international community.

    This is the first time in the history without any war being declared had seek asylum in an embassy. This stunt he had succeed to some extent and huge media and international community attention are given on him.

    But this guy should understand that international community is not blind and they will be very responsible of their action and they not an crazy like Nasheed. They will responsibility of their action and they will maintain certain ethics unlike Nasheed.

    All the demonstration that Nasheed is doing in Male' is just to show the international community how volatile the situation in Maldives.

    I am sure not too long , the international community will send their representative to assess the situation and truth will prevail.

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  6. All this is happening because Anni (I think even he would now agree) foolishly did not deal with the evil of the people who brought in the drugs, the social disharmony and the selective prosperity in the last 30 years... Now you need to remove these vicious people of the last 34 years... nothing positive will happen until...

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  7. An appreciable move taken by the united states of America, united Nations, United Kingdom with India to resolve the problems going on in maldives.

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  8. @HassanK

    Right. So why didn't MDP try to maintain the Anti- Maumoon coalition (watan edhey alliance) after coming to power in 2008. Had MDP maintained the coalition, the 'evil' would have been removed.

    But MDP choose to break up the original coalition and thats how Gayoom gained power ... and wakened MDP.

    This is why people cannot now believe MDP has good intentions.

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  9. Now what for Maldives' ministers? Threaten US, UK and UN also about intervening in Maldives internal affairs? Some how world is not inclined to look the way the present government wants them to.

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  10. Wake up!!!
    This is democracy in action and is the only fair way to exit on the planet today!!
    Let the people decide.

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  11. Minivannews is read all over the world, and people are amazed, everywhere, at the fact that Maldivian commentators are so bright, so clever, and their English is so good.
    All credit goes to just one man who worked so hard for 30 years,at the steering wheel of the nation, to civilise and educate our mighty and truly great nation.
    Thanks be to God.

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  12. "All this is happening because Anni (I think even he would now agree) foolishly did not deal with the evil of the people who brought in the drugs, the social disharmony and the selective prosperity in the last 30 years… Now you need to remove these vicious people of the last 34 years… nothing positive will happen until…"

    It would have been hard for anyone (not only Anni), to do away with the evil of 30 years mentioned here.

    There were many overstuffed and corrupted cases who switched sides just a little ahead of the much unexpected change that had come!

    Anni or anyone would need another 30 years to get rid of the evil elements of these 30 years without causing disorder, damage or even bloodshed, perhaps!

    Those who crossed borders just before the change, pretending to be saints, could never have shrug off what was rub on, just like that!

    Yes! If Anni purged the evil elements of the 30 years and repeated the history of doing away with who was in power and appointed appropriate people; also this would have happened as it did! I just cannot think otherwise!

    The sins of these 30 years plus the short term of him in office would still be haunting him.

    But given the opportunity and with the will of Allah, he is capable of sailing into smooth waters!

    I cannot say Anni is a saint, and can not fault! But compassion and compromise, is hard to come by these days!

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  13. The United States, United Kingdom, India and the UN know full well what's going on in the Maldives. They also know more than you think about characters like anti-Semite short tempered pamphlet writer Jameel. The United Kingdom will have even more details on ex-Colonel Nazim, for he was thrown out of Sandhurst for gross misconduct!

    In short, the regime can cry all it likes, but the world is fully aware of what's at stake. There's once-in-a-generation chance to free the country and move it forward to the 21st century.

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  14. Where were the UN,the UK and the US when the legitimate govt of Maldives was overthrown in Feb last year? They need to help the Maldivian people restore their elected govt. This present lot in power are terrorists and gangsters. That Jameel guy is a clown !

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  15. The current government came in according to our constitution and there is nothing that can be done to disapprove.

    International community is not blind and back only Nasheed and believe only Nasheed words unlike teh victims of Nasheed and MDP members.

    MDP thinks that entire world is behind Nasheed and they are supporting Nasheed , and they only want to see Nasheed as the President and they will onyl believe Nasheed.

    Nasheed is no saint and he is biggest crook in this country and he resigned after realizing that he had been losing his popularity in Maldives drastically and had no chance to win the second term.

    Since he had foreseen this, he decided to resign and then blame someone else for his resignation and then tell the bigest lie to bring the violence and then try to get sympathy from people.

    Short sight. Had well said , Nasheed abolished the anti-maumoon coalition because of his dictatorial policies. This guy have zero tolerance and he understood that it is bit too difficult to rob the country like he had done having a coalition on his side.

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  16. I hope India has learned its lesson. It is the lesson which the US took many years to learn. One does not molly coddle tyrants and villains just because it's politically expedient.

    I hope Nasheed has learnt his lesson that appeasing criminals like he did Gayoom and his cohorts for the sake of stability only gives them an opportunity to strike again.

    I certainly have learnt my lesson and I hope enough of fellow citizens have learnt as well. We cannot work with these vermin who take our kindness as our weakness. This time after their fall, there will be no "hihthiri" talk. The traitors must pay, only then will there be a sense of justice restored.

    It has to get worse before it gets better. We have to accept that.

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  17. This issue should be looked from the angle of litigants versus judiciary. Is there any law for litigants which can save them from judicial excesses. The legal system revolves around litigants,yet there is no law for litigants. There are laws for judges and lawyers,but nothing for the litigant. What does an ordinary litigant do in these circumstances?

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  18. The whole problem is "sabse bada rupaiyya"! Parliamentarians, political party leaders, ministers, prosecutor generals, attorney generals, police commissioners, military generals and even judges are sold and traded in the open market. If there is a rich man in Maldives willing to cash out the judges, this problem will be resolved. Nasheed made it difficult for rich people who invest in politics to get the right rate of returns. No wonder all the big business houses have turned against him. For future Maldivian politicians a simple equation to follow: cash + politician/minister/judge = IRR x 99 years resort lease, tax free, bother free and free for all.
    Good luck Male people.

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  19. Nasheed never tried to make the people life better but rather tried to make himself and his party senior people richer.

    Minister Naseem, Affef, Raazee , Reeco , Ali Waheed and Fahumee are few people who were made richer

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  20. "he resigned after realizing that he had been losing his popularity"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daGUFVyd22g

    Ahem I beg to differ :). Theres no indication that there's anyone more popular than him in the country. 🙂

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  21. @peasant

    'who take our kindness as our weakness'

    100 percent agree with you.

    The Maldives has so far been ruled by a collusion of few families from Male landowners and resort owners who exploits the kindness of ordinary citizens, especially in islands, as a weakness.

    Ironically the Government with the most diverse top level representation in 1000 years Maldives history is today's Government of Dr. Waheed, which came by default. Not though normal means.

    A well represented Government will NEVER come to power in Maldives through the normal route of vote rigging. All the talk of democracy is cover for vote buying and manipulation.

    This present 'coup government' is 100 times more democratic than the 'democratically elected' one we have seen.

    Its a fundamental error of the west to believe that Maldives could have a liberal democracy.

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  22. We are living in 21st century, and we know what was happened in the past and what is happening now, we cant hide anything. every one in Maldives know how intelligent Mr.Nasheed is, and in his period we know the faster improvement of maldives. so no need to create false information by hiding inefficiency and the instability of the current government. It is very much transparent. Also people know, as of now the President Mr. Waheed not able to open his mouth because of his inability for this current situation. He created a very pathetic situation for his government.

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  23. Let's get one thing straight. Nasheed isn't the saint everyone's making him out to be. He's just as corrupt as the rest of the bunch, and didn't really improve the lives of Maldivians. Rather, we saw people close to him get projects and had their wealth increase.

    But then again, this had been happening with Gayoom as well. The point here is, that despite all of that, Nasheed was elected in a fair election where he beat Gayoom. Obviously, this meant a loss of power for many parties, not just Gayoom, but many Male' landowners who found Nasheed to be a threat and they have been plotting to bring down that government ever since. Umar Naseer is evidence of this. Constant speeches given by top PPM members are evidence for this.

    In my opinion, it's choosing the lesser of two evils, and that is Nasheed. Maldives needs a proper democracy, not a theocracy where Islamic radicals and Male' landowners control the poverty stricken majority anyway they want. It is unfortunate though, that many islanders don't see what's to come if Maumoon and co gain power again.

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  24. Nasheed managed to rob the country in 3 years thrice more than what Gayyoom had robbed in 30 years.

    We voted and elected Nasheed because majority want a change and majority did not like the way Gayyoom was running the country.

    So why every time Nasheed and his associates are coming up with the excuses saying " Gayoom was doing this and that" this is irrelevant.

    Nasheed was elected to to rule the country in a democratic way and not to follow the foot steps on Gayoom.

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  25. Wives and Concubines,

    An 'honest politician' is an oxymoron. I support Nasheed for what he represents - pluralistic, inclusive, and liberal values, not for his personality or honesty - although the rest of them being a mix of kleptocrats, religious zealots and plain dumbasses, we hardly have a choice here.
    Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of government - except for all others that have been tried. Fair elections is not fair if the elected government resulting from a fair election is not allowed to function. Improvement in the lives of the people happens only when politicians actually believe that they can only remain in power if they serve the people.

    Now, our security forces have decided to cut themselves a slightly larger piece of the cake while giving the rest of it to the plutocratic elite, the rest of us have to make do with the crumbs.

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  26. Saabahey Waddey! hurihaa mageh bandhukoggenves verikan salaamaiy kuravvan ulhuvvaathee

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