Transparency Maldives met with the members of the Elections Commission on the 3rd of April to discuss on implementing the key recommendations in its recently published Pre-Election Assessment. The EC welcomed TM’s report and assured the commission’s consideration of the findings of the report. Recommendations in the report regarding the legal electoral framework, voter education, and elections dispute resolution were discussed at the meeting.

 

Transparency Maldives met the EC on April 18, to discuss recommendations proposed by Transparency Maldives to the Presidential Elections Regulation 2013.

 

General recommendations proposed by Transparency Maldives regarding the complaints system, early convening of the national advisory board, voter issues, campaign financing, and media issues were discussed.

 

In addition to it’s meetings with Elections Commission Transparency Maldives has met with and continues to meet with stakeholders including the public broadcaster Television Maldives, Anti Corruption Commission of Maldives to advocate for changes to the electoral framework and push for recommendations identified in the Pre-Election Assessment 2013.


TM releases its pre-election assessment

 

TM releases its pre-election assessment.[/caption]

 

A pre-election assessment conducted by Transparency Maldives has concluded that trust and confidence in the political system, relevant institutions and institutional processes, needed to be increased and maintained for holding successful presidential elections later this year.

 

The assessment, which was based on interviews with key stakeholders and focus group discussions, highlighted the need for increasing and maintaining confidence in the electoral administration and processes, and recommends the Elections Commission to proactively and regularly engage with relevant actors.

 

“Several interlocutors we met highlighted that there was a need for the Elections Commission to be more proactive. There is a concern that everyone was not on board as the EC prepares for the elections”, TM’s Advocacy Manager Aiman Rasheed commented.

 

Similarly, the assessment recommended that institutions such as the judiciary that handles any case affecting the electoral rights of voters and candidates must ensure public confidence and must be unquestionable.

 

The assessment also found that a crisis of confidence and trust in politicians sincerity to deliver on their promises was one of the main reasons for the practice of vote buying.

 

As a key recommendation, the assessment calls on the EC, the media and the civil society, to organise urgent voter education and constructive public debate around issues.

 

In the assessment, the elections complaints and dispute resolution system was described as broken and lacking stakeholder trust.

 

“Almost all of the interlocutors we met described the electoral complaints system as an utter failure,” said Mr Rasheed.

 

Part of the solution we propose is establishing an interagency task force between relevant institutions such as the Police, the Prosecutor General, the Anti-Corruption Commission, and the EC.

 

We have also recommended for urgent reforms to the electoral legal framework to establish an independent complaints tribunal, and better regulate the most problematic areas such as political finance and interagency jurisdictional issues.

 

Without such reforms, what the assessment calls the culture of misuse of state resources could not be addressed too, Mr Rasheed added.

 

The pre-election assessment is part of TM’s comprehensive Elections Program to conduct nation-wide observation of the upcoming elections.

 

The assessment was released at a press conference on Thursday.

 

To download the assessment tm_pre_election_assessment

 

To download Dhivehi press release elections_pressrelease

 

Media contact:

 

Aiman Rasheed, Advocacy and Communications Manager

Mobile: +960 7908967

Email: aiman.rasheed@transparencymaldives.org


Transparency Maldives and RTI experts meeting with Majlis Social Affairs Committee

 

Transparency Maldives and RTI experts meeting with Majlis Social Affairs Committee.

 

International experts who participated in the RTI Symposium along with staff of Transparency Maldives met with the Social Affairs Committee on 24th October 2012 reinforcing the positions of Transparency Maldives to advocate for the timely passage of a strong RTI Bill and propose amendments to further strengthen the bill. The Committee welcomed Transparency Maldives engagement with the People’s Majlis, especially with the Social Affairs Committee on providing technical support in the development of the bill. The Committee agreed with TM’s recommendations and promised to give full consideration to those recommendations at the committee stage. The group of experts also provided written comments to the RTI Bill based on the discussions with the Committee.

 

In addition to meeting with the Social Affairs Committee Mr. Venkatesh Nayak and Mr Michael Karanicolas also made media appearances to promote RTI in the Maldives. Mr. Nayak appeared on Raajje TV after the English News on 24th October 2012.

 

Mr. Karanicolas appeared on Dhi TV on the same night, along with Transparency Maldives Advocacy and Communication’s Manager, Mr. Aiman Rasheed. Both programs were aired during primetime.

 

Minutes of Social Affairs Committee meeting with Transparency Maldives


speaker_shahid

 

Transparency Maldives organized a symposium on Right to Information with international speakers and panelists as part of a project funded by UNDEF in partnership with UNDP Maldives on 23 October 2012. The specific objectives of the symposium were to: promote RTI as a tool to advance democracy; facilitate sharing of experiences and international best practices; and create demand and culture a deeper appreciation for RTI.

 

The Symposium was attended by President’s Office, state ministers, senior government officials, members of Human Rights Commission, Anti Corruption Commission and Elections Commission, Maldives Police Service, Police Integrity Commission, Prosecutor Generals Office, UNDP, Maldives Post Limited, Maldives Customs Service, Local Government Authority and representatives from the civil society and media.

 

The closing ceremony was attended by Hon Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid, who made a commitment to contribute to expediting the process of passage of the RTI Bill currently at the Social Affairs Committee of the Parliament.

 

Team of Experts

 

intenational_speakersInternational experts from leading organizations on RTI, including the Open Society Justice Initiative (US), Open Democracy Advice Center (South Africa), Center for Law and Democracy (Canada), Central Information Commission of India (former) and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (India).

 

1. Ms. Sandra Colliver, Senior Legal Officer, Open Society Justice Initiative.

2. Mr. Mukelani Dimba, Deputy Executive Director, Open Democracy Advice Centre, South Africa.

3. Mr. Michael Karanicolas, Legal Officer Centre of Law and Democracy.

4. Mr. Sailesh Gandi, former Information Commissioner, Central Information Commission, India

5. Mr. Venkatesh Nayak, Program Coordinator, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, India

6. Uz. Mohamed Anil, Chairperson, Democracy House, Maldives

 

Sessions conducted at the symposium

 

The following sessions were conducted at the symposium.

  1. Right to Information and Democracy – history of RTI, importance of RTI in democratic governance and history of RTI in Maldives.
  2. Administering an RTI regime – practical aspect of administering an RTI regime, appeal processes, redress mechanisms, archiving and challenges faced.
  3. Local governance and RTI – importance of building relationship between democratic participatory governance and the role of RTI in local governance and how it can empower rural and vulnerable communities.
  4. Proactive Disclosure was the last session and we looked at its features in a good RTI regime and speakers discussed about creating a culture of proactively disclosing information across the state.
  5. In the closing session the speakers shared Success Stories from across the world.

Transparency Maldives is preparing a report on the symposium, which would include papers from the international speakers on different aspects of RTI, the discussions in the symposium and a list of resources that the participants can access to further their knowledge on RTI. The report will be shared with all the participants and will also be made available to the larger public.


The Crinis research uses both quantitative and qualitative research methods to assess various

dimensions of political financing transparency and accountability, and is to be used as a

benchmarking and advocacy tool for reforming the legal framework and practices associated with

political financing. Specifically, ten, interdependent dimensions-such as the scope, disclosure,

and depth of financial reporting-were assessed in this research as indicators of transparent

political financing procedures.

The report also provides recommendations for improving the current legal framework on

political financing. These include amending laws to mandate parties and candidates to submit

official identification of donors and vendors and to mandate political parties to disclose annual

audited accounting reports to the general public. It is also recommended that Non-State actors

such as Civil Society Organizations partake in monitoring and overseeing political financing

practices and to conduct awareness and advocacy programs on transparency and accountability

in political financing.

Download
Transparency in Political Financing in Maldives – CRINIS Research Project