The National Integrity System of the Maldives is based on three compound structures of key institutions: the core government agencies of Legislature, the Executive and theJudiciary the public sector agencies, the Civil Service and Law Enforcement Agencies the Elections Commission and Anti Corruption Commission, Auditor General’s Office the Media and the Civil Society Organisations, Political parties and private sectorBusiness.

The methodology and guiding questions applied for the research are developed by Transparency International and are based on the concept of a strong National Integrity System (NIS) to ensure a sustained and strong control over corruption in all areas of the society. Visit http://goo.gl/eALDRV to learn about the NIS concept.

The conceptual framework of the National Integrity System (NIS) stresses the role and interplay of a broader institutional framework of the State, including ‘anti-corruption agents in government, civil society, the business community and other relevant sectors, in ‘building [the] momentum, political will and civic pressure for relevant reform initiatives’ required to reduce and eliminate corruption in public service. Therefore, in assessing the National Integrity System (NIS) of the Maldives, it is important for the assessment to investigate that process, and the outcome of interplay between institutions. This study draws up conclusions and recommendations with due consideration to that interplay. Recommendations provided in this study should be read reflecting on the factors that affect this interplay and its outcomes.

Political bias created through intermingled political thinking and practices embedded in key political institutions, including the Legislature and the Executive, reduces the capacity of other institutions to function independently. Moreover, political bias embedded in the institutional framework further reduces the level of accountability, transparency and integrity functions of almost all the institutions.

The legal framework, starting with the Constitution that provides and guarantees basic rights of people in the Maldivian society, establishes a notable legislative framework for the good governance of socio-economic activities. However, the broader legal framework lacks adequate organisational structures and capabilities, and this weakens the adaptive efficiency of that legal framework to practically execute institutional tasks in the most effective manner. Further, this institutional weakness lies with weak historical institutions or traditionally transmitted historical undemocratic constitutional rules that are embedded in the current political system. The Maldives only created a democratic political system after the enactment of its first-ever democratic Constitution in 2008. Prior to that, the Maldives followed a Constitution that was built on pre-1965 monarchical practices, and encompassed a Constitutional Government with weak political institutions, vesting excessive powers in the rulers or policy-makers. Although the Constitution of 2008 created a democratic Constitutional Government, the traditionally transmitted undemocratic political practices are also embedded in the new politico-institutional framework, thus weakening the overall institutional framework, and leaving room for mis-governance and political malpractices. Hence, the political and legal institutions in place to govern the society are also weakened, reducing their capacity to create and uphold national integrity.

View/download our press statement on NIS in Dhivehi.
View/download the National Integrity System Assessment, Maldives 2014

Download
National Integrity System Assessment, Maldives 2014


Transparency Maldives’ (TM) survey, Democracy at the Crossroads, points to a crisis of public confidence in key democratic institutions. Citizens are cynical. Politicians, they think, lie to get elected and they don’t believe that the government cares about ordinary people.
The nationwide survey aims to encourage informed debate of democratic norms and about the performance of democratic institutions.
“This [the survey] shows that citizens are less likely to meaningfully participate in public matters and in holding public officials accountable. If so, it will ultimately lead to impunity and corruption,” Mariyam Shiuna, Executive Director of TM said.

Crisis of confidence

Citizens lack confidence in their key representative institutions. 62% of survey respondents say they have no confidence at all in the parliament. And 58% have no confidence in political parties. 50% and 46% citizens lack confidence in local governments and courts respectively. These results are similar to TM’s Global Corruption Barometer surveys from 2012 and 2013.
77% of Maldivians identify “politics,” which includes conflict, corruption and the party system, as the most important problem facing the country. Half of the public is dissatisfied with the way democracy operates in the Maldives.
Maldivians give political leaders a low rating. None rate better than average.

Cynicism, democratic values and social order

86% of Maldivians say that the government does not care about ordinary people and 92% of Maldivians believe that politicians are “ready to lie to get elected”, showing extraordinarily high levels of cynicism in comparison to similar transitional democracies.
Citizens are critical of the social order: 84% think that power is concentrated in the hands of too few people.  The good news is that 90% of the public believe dialogue is the way to solve the country’s problems. The bad news is that 1 in 3 think that violence is sometimes a necessary response to social injustice.
Maldivians are not enthusiastic about gender equality. A majority think men make better leaders than women. Remarkably, more women than men support the idea that men make better leaders than women.

Is there hope?

“Democratic institutions must take extraordinary measures to regain the trust of the public and the public must step up to hold public officials to account,” said Aiman Rasheed, Advocacy and Communications Manager. “Levels of confidence in institutions is a key indicator of the levels of corruption in a system,” he added.
This is the first systematic survey on democracy conducted in the Maldives and provides important benchmark data. The random sample of approximately 1,000 citizens provides a margin of error of +/- 3.0% and the findings are generalisable to the entire country. The questions asked come from surveys that have been repeatedly used and tested around the world.
ENDS
For all media queries, please contact Advocacy and Communications Manager, Aiman Rasheed (00 960 7908967).

Click to view/download the report ‘Democracy at the Crossroads’ 

Click to view/download this statement in Dhivehi
Click to view/download this statement in English


PRELIMINARY STATEMENT
MALE — (23 March 2014) — Transparency Maldives (TM) appreciates and thanks all observers and volunteers in our observer network, based in 20 atolls and Colombo and Kuala Lumpur. The observers were key to the success of the observation. TM hopes that an independent observation effort at this scale has instilled greater levels of trust  in our electoral processes. The results we report are based on random sampling and are generalisable to the entire country.

1. Polling day
The election day processes were transparent and generally well-administered. We are happy to report that the election has been peaceful with just one reported incident of violence inside a polling station. TM congratulates Maldivian citizens for their spirited engagement in the democratic process.

The following are the key findings which we would like to highlight from our observation. 83.52% of polling stations closed within the first hour of the normal closing time of 4:00 p.m.

Voter registry was overall very clean, with a very few cases where people were not able to vote because their names were not on the voter registry or their details did not match. Assisted voters were spread across 84.1% of the polling stations.

Voting was temporarily halted in 2.4% of polling stations. 75% of these cases were interventions at the direction of the Presiding Officer while 25% were interventions by an unruly voter.

We note that the police entered 12.35% of polling stations. However, in 100% of such cases, interventions occurred at the invitation of the Presiding Officer as the rules allow.

Candidates were well-represented during the counting, making the process transparent and adding to its credibility. Maldivian Democratic Party was represented at 89.4% of polling stations during the vote count. Coalition parties were represented at 88.8% of polling stations during the vote count. Only 5.9% of polling stations did not have a party/candidate observer present at the opening of the polls.

Unresolved disputes were reported at only 5.3% ballot boxes at the time of announcing results.

However, TM calls on all actors to take immediate measures to address wider issues, including vote buying, lack of transparency in political finance, abuse of state resources, barriers for women’s equal participation in the electoral processes, and bring long overdue reforms to the electoral legal framework.

2. Vote buying
In a survey conducted by TM in the run up to 2013 presidential elections, 15% of respondents reported that money or other incentives were offered in exchange for their vote. Admissions about illegal activities such as this are usually underreported in surveys. TM’s long-term observation indicates that vote buying may be even more widespread in the parliamentary elections than other elections.

Inability of state institutions to prosecute vote buying due to gaps in the electoral legal framework, lack of coordination, and buck-passing between the relevant institutions have allowed rampant vote buying to go unchecked.

TM recommends to all relevant institutions to monitor, investigate and prosecute vote buying through implementation of the existing legal provisions and recommends to the Parliament to bring urgent reforms to the laws to better address the issue.

3. Lack of Political and Campaign Finance Transparency
Deep flaws in the standards, practices and poor oversight have led to the lack of transparency in political and campaign financing in elections, including the parliamentary elections. When political parties and individual candidates do not fully disclose where they get their money from, it is not clear who funds them, what their potential conflict of interests are, and, thereby allows vested interests to override public interest when elected as MPs.  Similarly, Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer surveys for the Maldives continue to indicate a crisis of public trust in the Parliament. Increasing campaign financing transparency in parliamentary elections is crucial to hold parliamentarians to account, in order to prevent the hijack of the institution by vested interests and regain public trust in the Parliament .

TM recommends addressing the gaps in the electoral legal framework and implementation of existing provisions to facilitate public scrutiny, ensure periodic reporting and an effective oversight mechanism for political finance.

4. Women Political Participation
Only 23 women out of 302 candidates contested the Parliamentary Elections, out of which only five were elected according to the provisional results. The Maldives is currently ranked 129th place in the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s index of parliaments in terms of gender balance. Relevant authorities should identify and address the barriers for women’s equal political participation.

5. Other Issues
Additional issues that need to be addressed are:

  1. Abuse of state resources and authority by successive regimes, allowing those in power to campaign at the expense of the public purse;
  2. Constituency delineation legal framework and processes that result in assignation of voters to constituencies not based on their domiciled residencies, robbing voters of effective representation;
  3. Instances where secrecy of the ballot  may be compromised when a few people are registered to outside their constituencies (for example, 2,947 cases of single voters; 1,070 cases of two voters; and, 502 cases of three voters);
  4. Lack of effective  long-term voter and civic education on issues such as vote buying, political finance transparency and equality of women in political participation; and,
  5. Uncertainties arising from the role of the judiciary in elections and, in particular, the 16-point guideline issued by the Supreme Court. TM reiterates that the guideline does  not improve upon the technical aspects of the election and recommends that any concerns the guideline intends to tackle be addressed through legislative reforms and within constitutional boundaries.

Transparency Maldives congratulates all winning candidates and urges all relevant actors to reform the electoral systems to increase confidence in and improve electoral systems in the Maldives. A final report on the findings with recommendations will be published within a month of conclusion of elections.

ENDS

For media queries, please contact Advocacy and Communications Manager, Aiman Rasheed on 00 960 790 8967.

Click to view/download this statement in English
Click to view/download this statement in Dhivehi


PRESS RELEASE 

Male – (22 March 2014) –Transparency Maldives thanks our observers deployed across the country for their dedication in observing the election processes. Transparency Maldives’ observer network has a wide national coverage spanning resorts, prisons, and abroad in Kuala Lumpur and Colombo.

The results we report are based on random sampling and are generalisable to the entire country. These results are based on the observation at the time of opening of polls.

The opening of the polls was smooth, and the administrative preparation went well. 79% of all polling stations opened by 8.10am, 20% of polling stations opened within the first hour of the required opening time, and 1% of polling stations opened between 9am and 10am.

Nearly all polling station officials were in place at all polling stations.

The materials required for voting were present and the ballot papers were counted at 100% of the polling stations. 100% of ballot boxes were verified as empty at the opening of the polls.

Candidates were well represented at polling stations. Only 10% of the polling stations did not have a party/candidate observer present at the opening of the polls. Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) observers were present at 78% of polling stations while 81% of polling stations had observers from the coalition parties, at the opening of the polls.

Transparency Maldives also notes that police presence was visible at 93% of the observed polling stations at the time of opening.

Observers concluded that the polling stations were set up to ensure a secret vote in 98% of polling stations. Transparency Maldives observers will be closely monitoring the 2% of the polling station where the secrecy of the ballot may be compromised due to the layout of the polling station.

We encourage all parties to maintain the climate of peace. Our observers are working hard at polling stations and will be present at the polling stations until the polls are closed and the results are announced.

ENDS

For all media queries, please contact Advocacy and Communications Manager, Aiman Rasheed (00 960 7908967)

Click to view/download this statement in English
Click to view/download this statement in Dhivehi


Article 4 of the Constitution of the Maldives stipulates that all the powers of the State of the Maldives are derived from the citizens and remain with the citizens. The power to elect representatives through elections ensure that the powers of the state do remain with the citizens. Direct and elected representatives at island and community level will help improve local governance and the democratic system.

The purpose of this position paper is to bring to the attention of the public and relevant institutions some of the major systemic issues within the electoral framework and advocate for changes to the system.

This paper highlights critical and fundamental issues in the local governance and council election systems. Transparency Maldives hopes that this paper creates discussion on these issues and paves way for the implementation of the recommendations to strengthen the local governance and council election systems.

Click to view/download full position paper in English

Click to view/download full position paper in Dhivehi


9 and 12 January 2013

The National Advisory Committee (NAC) for Elections for the Local Council Elections was first convened on 9 January 2014 with a subsequent meeting held on 12 January 2014.

Updates by the Elections Commission
  • For the first time in Maldives, the voter registry will include photos of voters to ensure easier identification of the voter.
  • Deadline for candidates and parties to sign copies of photo voter registry concluded on 11 January. All political parties except PPM have signed all the lists.
  • Training of polling officials are currently underway in the islands.
  • Elections Commission is facing difficulties in carrying out activities due to budgetary constraints.
Other Points of Note
  • The Elections Commission informed the NAC that the Supreme Court guidelines are an impediment to proper conduction of the elections. Issues such as the requirement for all candidates to sign the voter lists before being dispatched are issues that remain unresolved. As it stands, the Elections Commission will be sending out ballot papers to the islands without the signature of some of the candidates or their representatives.
  • Two cases regarding candidacy currently underway at Supreme Court may affect the election being conducted on 18 January.
About the National Advisory Committee for Elections

The National Advisory Committee for Elections is convened by the Elections Commission and is the highest statutory advisory body for elections. The committee comprises the five members of the Elections Commission, a representative of each political party fielding candidates, a member of the Maldives Broadcasting Commission, Maldives Media Council and the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, a representative of the Maldives Police Service, civil society and the Department of National Registration.

Transparency Maldives’ (TM) Advocacy and Communications Manager, Aiman Rasheed sits on the National Advisory Committee for Elections as the civil society representative.


Clarification on the reported numbers of the ‘An Assessment on Climate Finance Governance’ report:

 

Maldives has been pledged USD 130 million from 2008 through 2015 for environment and climate change related projects. Some projects financed through the USD 130 million have been concluded while others are currently ongoing. The figure is not MVR 130 billion as reported by some news sources.

 

We apologize for the misinformation.

 

‘An Assessment on Climate Finance Governance’ is a research conducted in 6 countries by Climate Finance Integrity Project’s by the respective Transparency International chapters.

 

This assessment is based on expert interviews and mapping on how funds have been received and utilized. We highlight the main findings and recommendations of the assessment on climate finance governance in Maldives.

 

See the following link for a summary of the report in Dhivehi and the complete report can be found in English at this link.


The Government of the Maldives is in the process of establishing Maldives Green Fund (MGF), under a Presidential Decree. Currently, the proposed legal forms for the Fund include either State Owned Enterprise coming under the Companies Act or a Trust Fund coming under Public Finance Act provision.

The MGF will handle climate finance on a range of sectors, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, water and waste management among others. Once established programmes such as Scaling Up of Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Programme in the Maldives, projected to be worth USD139 million, will come under MGF.

This document outlines Transparency Maldives’ general comments and proposals on the documents establishing MGF.

 

Download
Maldives Green Fund: General Policy Brief


The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) surveys opinions and experiences of the public on corruption. The GCB is one of the tools utilized by TI in understanding corruption.

 

Transparency International (TI) is a global movement sharing one vision: a world in which government, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption. Transparency Maldives is the national contact of TI in Maldives.

 

Click to view/download the Global Corruption Barometer Survey 2013 in English and Dhivehi

 

Download
Global Corruption Barometer Survey 2013


The Climate Finance Integrity Programme was piloted in 2011 by Transparency International in six

countries, including the Maldives, to monitor the increasing climate related finance, the governance

of raising and managing these funds and the governance of these funds within the selected

countries. This report is the national report for the mapping assessment conducted for Maldives.

The research has briefly looked at all government institutions that were active during the research

phase, from 2011 to mid-2013, in the delivery and monitoring of climate change projects that were

funded by the government or externally. Institutions are analysed briefly in terms of governance and

transparency aspects in relation to use of climate finance.

This report represents a summary of the research process and findings for the Maldives under five

sections: an introduction (which also sets out the definition of climate finance which guided the

research process), the research methodology, the visual map and a narrative of the key actors in the

map, conclusions and recommendations

Download
An Assessment of Climate Finance Governance in Maldives


13 October 2013

At the meeting of the National Advisory Committee for Elections (NAC) held at the Elections Commission’s (EC) headquarters on 13 October 2013, Transparency Maldives (TM) sought clarifications, made comments and observations and provided advise. Following is a summary of the discussion.

 

A representative of the Department of National Registration shall participate in the National Advisory Committee for Elections meetings, from 13 October 2013 onwards.

Updates by the Elections Commission
  • The registration system is currently down. However, the EC will continue to receive registration forms.
  • 30,000 registration forms have so far been processed, as of 2pm 13 October 2013.
  • The EC will be hiring an additional two polling officials for each of 7 and 10 member teams -a Communication Official to communicate with the EC as the officials are not allowed to carry in mobile phones, and an additional official who is tasked with ensuring that the voters list (not to be confused with the voters registry) is marked correctly at each polling station- to comply with the Supreme Court (SC) verdict number 2013/SC-C/42.
  • EC expressed gratitude towards the Maldives Media Council (MMC) for lodging a case at the SC that resulted in a SC Order (no. 2013/SC-SJ/08) that lifts the ban on media monitors to carry in equipment necessary for their media functions. The Order also allows observers to carry in equipment and materials necessary for observation. Candidate agents, however are not covered under the Order and can only carry in pens into the polling area.
Other Points of Note
  • DNR informed the NAC that as per the SC Order, in instances where citizens whose permanent address on their ID card and voters list do not match, will not be allowed to vote. DNR is yet to receive a list of the 2,830 persons mentioned in the SC verdict, whose permanent address on their ID cards do not match with the voters registry and hence are unable to verify the authenticity of the number. DNR is of the opinion, that based on their records, it is extremely unlikely that addresses of 2,830 citizens are mismatched. The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM), the Maldives Media Council (MMC), and Transparency Maldives all expressed concern that these 2,830 citizens may be deprived of their right to vote if their ID cards are not renewed to reflect the address on the voter registry.
  • PPM requested the EC to verify the registration forms and the finger prints, possibly by conducting a random verification of 10 forms per 1,000. The EC responded that it is not possible provided that state institutions do not have the capacity, records or the set up required to conduct such a verification process.
About the National Advisory Committee for Elections

The National Advisory Committee for Elections is convened by the Elections Commission and is the highest statutory advisory body for elections. The committee comprises the five members of the Elections Commission, a representative of each of the four candidates contesting the Presidential Elections 2013, a member of the Maldives Broadcasting Commission, Maldives Media Council and the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, a representative of the Maldives Police Service and civil society.

 

Transparency Maldives’ (TM) Advocacy and Communications Manager, Aiman Rasheed sits on the National Advisory Committee for Elections as the civil society representative.