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Maldives: Elections

Volume 475: debated on Friday 16 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to support media and election monitoring in the Maldives in the run up to multi-party elections; and if he will make a statement. (204679)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East gave to the hon. Member for West Suffolk (Mr. Spring) on 27 February 2008, Official Report, column 1704W.

We are working closely with the BBC, the Maldives Ministry of Information and the Maldives Media Association to promote media freedom and skills development.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of the Maldives on the (a) establishment of (i) an election commission, (ii) a judicial commission and (iii) an anti-corruption commission ahead of the multi-party elections and (b) on the subsequent operation of such commissions. (204686)

In a meeting with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in April the Maldivian Foreign Minister, Abdulla Shahid, stated that an Interim Election Commission would be created within 30 days of the ratification of the new constitution. He underlined that the deliberations of the Special Majlis (Constitutional Assembly) were nearly complete. Foreign Minister Shahid told us that the Commission would be responsible for all elections-related matters and that all registered political parties would be able to nominate Commissioners.

We have had no specific discussions on other commissions, but in his statement to EU Parliamentarians and officials on 6 May, Ahmed Sareer, Chargé d’affaires at the Maldives Mission to the EU, confirmed that an Interim Judicial Service Commission and an Anti Corruption Commission would be created within 30 and 60 days respectively of the introduction of the new constitution.