LONDON, England -- Bruce Golding, the former prime minister of Jamaica, will lead a Commonwealth observer group to Maldives for parliamentary elections there this month.
Elections to the People’s Majlis, or Parliament, are scheduled for 22 March. The Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma constituted the group at the invitation of the Maldives Elections Commission.
Sharma said: “I am pleased to establish a Commonwealth Observer Group for the Maldives Majlis elections. As these will be the second multi-party parliamentary elections held in Maldives, 22 March 2014 represents an important opportunity for Maldives to further consolidate its democracy.
“In the Commonwealth Charter, Commonwealth leaders have recognised the inalienable right of individuals to participate in democratic processes, in particular through free and fair elections. The holding of scheduled elections, in accordance with a constitutional framework that provides for an independent Elections Commission and the separation of powers between the executive, the parliament and the judiciary, is integral to the democratic values of the Commonwealth.”
The Commonwealth Observer Group’s mandate is to observe and consider all aspects of the electoral process with a view to assessing compliance with the standards for democratic elections to which Maldives has committed itself. Where appropriate, the Group may also make recommendations for the future strengthening of the electoral framework.
Commonwealth Observer Groups act impartially and independently and conduct themselves according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.
The Commonwealth observer group to the 2014 Majlis elections will submit its report to the Commonwealth secretary-general, who will in turn send it to the government of Maldives, the Elections Commission, Maldivian political parties and eventually to all Commonwealth governments.
The seven-member Commonwealth observer group will be in Maldives from 16 to 28 March. A Commonwealth Secretariat team led by Alison Pearman, political affairs adviser, will support the group.