In a significant political moment, the Maldives welcomes the Commonwealth Observer Group, underscoring the deepening bond between the island nation and the global community. Leading this mission, H.E. Danny Faure, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Observer Group and former President of the Republic of Seychelles, unequivocally expressed the Commonwealth's unwavering solidarity with the people of the Maldives.
The 2023 Presidential Election in Maldives holds historical weight. It marks the first Commonwealth Observer Group engagement since Maldives made its commendable return to the Commonwealth in February 2020. An event H.E. Danny Faure termed as an "important democratic endeavor."
The statistics further illuminate the significance, with 282,395 eligible voters this year. Every vote and voice counts and the presence of external observers amplifies the importance of transparency in this democratic exercise.
Drawing a clear line, H.E. Danny Faure articulated the role of the observers: "Our mandate is to observe, and not to interfere with the electoral process." Such distinction ensures that while the international community watches, the onus and execution of the electoral process lie firmly with the Maldivian people and institutions.
The robust methodology of the Observer Group comprises an extensive review of the pre-election climate, the activities on polling day, and the subsequent post-election period. Their findings will culminate in a comprehensive report encapsulating their observations.
From the 2nd to the 15th of September, members of the Commonwealth Observer Group will be on the ground, engaging in intensive sessions with a diverse cohort including election management officials, political party representatives, civil society advocates, law enforcement, diplomatic figures, and other observers, both local and international.
Echoing the group's commitment to a holistic review, the Chairperson commented, "We will consider the electoral process as a whole and report on whether it has been conducted in accordance with the national, Commonwealth, and other international standards to which Maldives has committed itself."
This collaborative effort between the Maldives and the Commonwealth will culminate in a comprehensive report. This document, destined for the desk of the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, the Maldivian Government, the Elections Commission of Maldives, political entities, and Commonwealth member states, will subsequently be made accessible to the global populace.
As the Maldives stands on the precipice of a defining moment in its democratic journey, the presence and solidarity of the Commonwealth reaffirms the collective hope for a transparent, free, and fair electoral process.