World wants “no further artificial impediments” to Maldives polls, Swire tells UK parliament

The Maldivian people’s commitment to democracy has not been respected by some of their politicians, the UK’s Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire, has told British parliament.

The Westminster Hall debate on the situation in the Maldives was called on Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s scheduled election by UK Conservative Party MP for Redditch, Karen Lumley.

Lumley was a political consultant with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy in 2008, and helped train Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party in political campaigning.

“What happened smacks to me of a child who cannot win a board game, so they tip over the board,” Lumley said of the Maldivian politicians’ use of the Supreme Court to annul the September 7 election result, in which Nasheed emerged the frontrunner following his controversial ousting a year and a half earlier.

Hugo Swire told the assembled MPs that politicians attempting to disrupt the elections in the Maldives had, “through various manoeuvres, including calls for military intervention, [sought] to frustrate and impede the democratic process.”

“I want to speak very explicitly and clearly, because I want to leave no one, particularly anyone in the Maldives who is listening to what I am saying or who will receive a report of it later, in doubt,” Swire told the MPs.

“The evidence is that more than 85 percent – how many of us would like to be able to cite that figure for our own constituencies? – of the electorate voted in the presidential elections on 7 September this year, demonstrating their strong commitment to the democratic process. Polls were judged by international and domestic observers to have been fair, free and credible.

“As the Maldives Elections Commission stated, the election was described by observers as ‘one of the most peaceful and best’ that they had seen. That certainly remains our view,” Swire stated.

“Following what appeared to be a weakly substantiated legal challenge from an unsuccessful presidential candidate, the Maldives Supreme Court voted to annul the election results and ordered a restart of the process,” Swire noted, before citing a recent statement from UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay in which she accused the court of “interfering excessively in the presidential elections, and in so doing is subverting the democratic process and violating the right of Maldivians to freely elect their representatives.”

“Regrettably, the controversy does not end there. On 19 October, the scheduled re-run was cancelled at the last moment, and the Maldives police service intervened to ensure that the vote could not take place. The cancellation came as a result of the refusal of two candidates to sign the electoral register – one of the 16 onerous conditions imposed by the Supreme Court. That condition in effect allows any one candidate to veto the elections, raising the possibility, as my hon. friend the Member for Redditch says, of further delays,” Swire said.

“We are frustrated and concerned, but not without hope. There are practical actions that can be taken without delay. The voter registers are due to be signed by candidates today.”

Such was the UK government’s concern at “the Maldives’ disregard for [the Commonwealth’s] values that it prompts the question – if the elections do not proceed as scheduled – of whether it is appropriate for the Maldives to be represented at the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Colombo,” Swire said.

“It is imperative that the rescheduled elections go ahead as planned. Anything short of that will be unacceptable. I say again to those people listening in the Maldives: the world is watching closely and it wants democratic elections, a democratically elected president and no further impediment to that to be created artificially by anyone in that country, which deserves so much better,” he concluded.

Following a meeting between President Mohamed Waheed and the presidential candidates this morning, Gasim Ibrahim and Abdulla Yameen dropped threats to veto the election made as recently as Tuesday night, and sent representatives to sign the voter registry.

Their sudden turnaround removes a major obstacle impeding the elections, and greatly increases the likelihood of polls taking place as scheduled on Saturday.

A growing delegation of senior international officials and state representatives are meanwhile arriving in the Maldives ahead of the election.

The diplomats arriving include UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Sir Don McKinnon, and a team from India including the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, an outspoken proponent of the need for elections in the Maldives, has meanwhile issued a statement calling for “the will of the Maldivian people [to be] recognised through a free and fair vote.”

“The international community is watching events in the Maldives closely. Canada calls on those in the current Government, security forces and the judiciary to respect the democratic process and not act to circumvent it. As voters in the Maldives go to the polls again on Saturday, they deserve to have confidence that their voices will be heard,” Baird stated.


13 thoughts on “World wants “no further artificial impediments” to Maldives polls, Swire tells UK parliament”

  1. There is nothing artificial about the will of Allah (swt) or the wisdom of our courts. If they were not judicious they would not be our judiciary. Alhamdulillaah!


    This is the best summary of Maldives current political conundrum

  3. The Maldivians will give a good lesson to our still reigning dictator and his followers.
    Lets beat them first round and make it clear their tactics were useless and ineffective against the will of the people!

  4. You sad little person 'Dhivehi Hanguraama'. I try not to make personal attacks on this forum, but when I read comments like yours, I want to yell!

    You know nothing about Islam and what it stands for if you condone the actions of the judges who have lied and objected to the flow of fair government in this country. I repeat the word FAIR.If you have read anything about the beginnings of Islam, you will know that Mohommed was, by the standards of the time, the most liberal and fair of prophets. Islam grew because he did not discriminate, infact allowing slaves and others who were trodden on, the opportunity to belong to the community.

    Not only that, you lack of ethical and moral judgement is astonishing, in fact frightening.How can you respect these people who are bribed to come out with the rules they are producing as they see fit, without any regard to the constitution, or the rights of the people.

    I know your problem. You think if anyone with some power in the government says something, it is to be obeyed. Not so. We have rights too. I belong to that 99% of the population that Gayoom spat on and neglected and manipulated. But today, I have grown beyond the limitations they put on me and so have all my friends. We deserve better. We are not criminals and this nation needs to acknowledge the fact that half a dozen spoilt brats are destroying our chances to live in a fair society.

    Thank you Lumley and interested parties overseas. Strong, clear messages at last. I doubt if the Maldivians would tolerate another failed election either.

  5. @Dhivehi Hanguraama on Wed, 6th Nov 2013 11:52 PM


    (1) O' Glorious and Pious Slave of Allah and observer of Ayatolla Khoemini, Alahmdhu Lillahi, Ali Hameed will get his deserved punishment of stoning to death one of these days!

    (2) Guess why Yameen and Gasim climbed down from their high horse? Because of impending economic and financial collapse of not just their own little empires, but of the whole Maldives!

    (3) The finance minister of the illegal regime has thrown up his hands. There's no one willing to lend a cent to the current regime. Oil is being bought with money from state reserves! Budget "support" is being done the same way. The state will have no reservers in a few months. They Maldivians will have nothing but fish and coconuts to eat, literally!

    (4) Who is responsible for this fiasco? Ladies and gentleman, the people of Maldives have waited patiently when their elected government was torn apart and when their right to vote for an elected leader has been trodden upon twice now by a couple of selfish thugs!

  6. Your idols are false, your tyranny past its time. Your thugs are outnumbered and your injustice exposed. Yield and return to the history books as a footnote, or spend eternity wishing that you had!

  7. @ Dhivehi Hanguraama: Amen

    However, it is not only the "International Community", all individuals who know something about those beautiful islands and their law-abiding citizens will be watching to see how a few thousand people attempt to enslave three hundred thousand.

    You'll have to go it alone in every sphere.

  8. As a tourist I must say it is time to place culture and pride back into these sad downtrodden Maldives people.

    DOWNTRODDEN means to be oppressed or being treated badly by people in power.

    It is time for these few hypocritical Maldives resort owners to realize that Maldives people are human beings and must have the freedom to make decisions for their own self improvement.

    The people are beginning to see that simply praying is not the answer.

  9. British can not rule the world any more and you still want to make asia and african countries to be the slaves.

    This era is passed and so called common wealth countries are the countries that british has ruled and still want to put thier fingers through this .

    Where was these guys when Nadheed had clearly challenged our constitution and was violating rules of of law in this country ?

    Why did they were silent during that time? All these was for one reason. Nasheed promised them that he will allow multi religion in this country and he will slowly help to make this country as socialist country.

    Why these guys can not see how Nasheed and EC had rigged the votes and explain us how dead people had casted thier votes?

    If these can be explained by those great britain guys, we accept the dictator Nasheed as the president,.

  10. @Ahmed Bin Addu Bin Suvadheeb on Thu, 7th Nov 2013 4:58 AM.


    Yes! The people of Maldives have witnessed all these, and they have been patient, more than long enough, for sure!

    Let us hope and pray, that 9th November, 2013 will be the day the people of Maldives will have the last laugh at all what is being said and done by people like the holder of "order of the white pants", and people who have been funding the many doggies that may have been performed (God knows how much! We were able to see just one, at least!!!!)!

    Think, vote and laugh the last laugh!

  11. @Hero darling get your head out of whatever sand its buried in, use your brains and think how the hell could EC rig the votes when both local and international observers have said it was conducted in a fair and transparent manner and when all political parties also had observers present, in front of whom the votes were cast and counted.

    Not to mention the fact that JP was unable to show any evidence of such fraud in SC. And that the supreme court in its infinite wisdom decided to annul the elections based on a secret report submitted by police which even the EC lawyer was not allowed to see.

    If using your brain is too difficult an endeavor please go ahead and read the reports related to the leaked 'secret police report' which mentions living people as dead and as per Haveeru's article today even has 58 year old's mentioned as being underage and having voted.

  12. @Aicha on Thu, 7th Nov 2013 2:42 PM and others...

    Don't feed the troll named Hero, Kuribee, Tourist, or whatever else his feeble mind can come up with. Trolls thrive on attention. Just avoid reading their s*it, since you know its just that. Avoid giving them what they crave most; attention.


Comments are closed.