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EU calls on Maldives to ensure 'credible, transparent and inclusive' elections

Fathmath Shaahunaz
01 June 2018, MVT 08:57
Members of the EU delegation during their visit to the Maldives. PHOTO/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
01 June 2018, MVT 08:57

The European Union (EU) has raised concerns over the political situation in the Maldives, calling on authorities to ensure that the upcoming Presidential Election is credible, transparent and inclusive.

In a joint local statement, the EU said that its Ambassador along with the Ambassadors of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States to the Maldives, have been closely following the deteriorating situation in the archipelago prior to the election process.

"Legitimate opposition is a vital part of any healthy democracy, and it is critical that authorities respect fundamental freedoms, including freedom of assembly and speech," stated the EU.

Urging the government of the Maldives to "demonstrate genuine commitment to a credible, transparent, and inclusive election process", the EU said that it will continue to closely monitor the situation in the run-up to the elections.

The EU's statement comes in the wake of main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s presidential primary held Wednesday, which had been disrupted several times by the police. On the Elections Commission's request, the Civil Court had issued an order for MDP to stop its primary, which was declared by EC as unconstitutional.

The EC had warned MDP previously that its primary would not be accepted and that the party could be dissolved, since MDP's only candidate was former President Mohamed Nasheed, who is currently convicted to 13-years in jail on terrorism charges. His conviction renders him ineligible to run for president as per the Maldivian Constitution.

Despite the EC's warnings and the police's attempts to halt the proceedings, MDP had continued with the voting process until midnight Wednesday. Nasheed passed the primary with 43,922 votes in his favour.

The EC has said that it would decide on a course of action against MDP coming Sunday.

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