Seychelles’s Former President to lead Commonwealth observers in Maldives election |25 August 2023
Seychelles’ former President Danny Faure will lead a team of Commonwealth election observers to the Maldives, which will be holding a presidential election on September 9, 2023.
In an article posted on its website on Tuesday, the Commonwealth secretariat stated that this will be the first Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) to observe an election in the country since Maldives re-joined the Commonwealth in February 2020.
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, constituted a COG following an invitation from the Elections Commission of Maldives.
According to the Commonwealth there are 282,395 eligible voters in this year's election who will have the right to cast their ballot for their choice of presidential candidate.
Commenting on the COG, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC said that "In the spirit of our Commonwealth's enduring commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law, I am delighted to announce the establishment of a Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) for the upcoming election in Maldives. Our Commonwealth family stands united in its dedication to supporting democratic processes, fostering transparency, and ensuring that the voices of citizens are heard”.
She added that the “Commonwealth's presence in Maldives reaffirms our steadfast belief in the conduct of inclusive, transparent, and credible elections. We will be guided by the values enshrined in our Charter, promoting democracy, respecting fundamental rights, and contributing to the advancement of peaceful societies."
Secretary-General Scotland also acknowledged the commitment of the COG members to this important mission and extended gratitude to each observer for their willingness to serve the Commonwealth in this capacity.
The article added that reflecting the diverse expertise and experience of Commonwealth member countries, the COG consists of 11 eminent individuals from various backgrounds, including politicians, diplomats and experts in law, human rights, gender equality and election administration.
Observers will arrive in Malé, Maldives on September 2and depart the country on the 15th. The group will be supported by a staff team from the Commonwealth secretariat.
The Commonwealth Observer Group members, are Seychelles’ former President Danny Faure as chairperson; Kenya’s retired Supreme Court justice, Jackton Boma Ojwang; Cronisa Baguga, the deputy commissioner of Nauru Electoral Commission; New Zealand’s former Cabinet minister Maryan Street; and Yemi Adamolekun, executive director of Nigerian organization, ‘Enough is Enough’.
The other members are Cynthia Barrow-Giles, professor of the Constitutional Governance and Politics, from the University of the West Indies, Saint Lucia; Ambassador Alari Awahnatu Cole, from the ECOWAS Council of the Wise and former ambassador and high Commissioner of Sierra Leone; Singapore’s former nominated member of parliament and lawyer Mahdev Mohan.
There are also professor Mandla Mchunu, South Africa’s former chief electoral officer; Bobbi Rogers, manager of corporate communications, Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago; and Anji Hunter, UK’s senior public relations adviser.
According to the article, the mandate of the group, which is independent and impartial, is to observe the preparations for the election, the polling, counting and the results process, and the overall electoral environment.
The observers will assess the conduct of the process as a whole and, where appropriate, make recommendations for the strengthening of the electoral system in Maldives.
Prior to deployment across Maldives, the group will hold briefings with the electoral authorities, political parties, law enforcement agencies, the diplomatic community, media and civil society groups representing women, youth and people with disabilities.
Upon fulfilling their mandate, the COG will submit a comprehensive report containing their observations and recommendations to the Commonwealth secretary general.
This report will subsequently be shared with the Maldives government, the Elections Commission of Maldives, political party leadership, and Commonwealth member governments. The report will also later be made public.