The Commonwealth has said it will be working with the Maldivian government to push ahead with strengthening and reforming “key public institutions” as it reiterates calls for “inclusive and credible” presidential elections to be held next year.
In a statement issued Friday (December 7), Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma said the intergovernmental organisation would continue to work with international partners and Maldivian authorities on a programme of reform and “practical collaboration”.
Over the last twelve months, the Commonwealth has played a key role in terms of the international community’s stance towards the Maldives, particularly following the controversial transfer of power in February in which the present government came to office.
Following allegations by the now opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) that President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan came to power in a “coup d’etat”, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) applied pressure for a reformed Committee of National Inquiry (CNI) to investigate the details behind the change of government.
The CNI’s findings, welcomed by the Commonwealth, US and the UN, rejected accusations that the present government came to power illegally, despite claims from former president Mohamed Nasheed that the report’s conclusions were flawed and failed to include key witness statements and evidence.
The opposition MDP has previously said it holds severe structural concerns about the CNI’s conclusions, but accepted the report had provided a “way forward” to push for institutional reform in areas such as defence and the judiciary.
Following a teleconference held Thursday (December 6) with Maldives Foreign Minister Dr Abdul Samad Abdullah, Commonwealth Secretary General Sharma issued a statement welcoming government assurances that the CNI’s recommendations would be “advanced meaningfully”.
“It continues to be important that there is even-handed implementation of all the recommendations in the Report of the Commission of National Inquiry, including investigations into allegations of police brutality and acts of intimidation,” stated Sharma.
The secretary general also used the statement to emphasize hopes that presidential elections – anticipated to be held during 2013 – would be conducted on a “a level-playing field for all political parties and actors”.
The Commonwealth said it appreciated commitments made by Foreign Minister Dr Samad to this end.
President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad was not responding to calls from Minivan News at the time of press over detailing the types of reform the government was said to have committed to following Thursday’s teleconference.