Ahmed Naseem, the Maldivian Democratic
Party (MDP) overseas representative said in Colombo last week
that an alliance of opposition parties and several NGO's in the
Maldives are rolling out an archipelago - wide campaign to
promote a caretaker government to oversee elections under a new
Constitution in 2008.
"There would be no possibility to hold
free and fair elections if the government continued to be headed
by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and in the absence of a
transitional or caretaker government," he noted.
He said the Alliance of opposition
parties was launched after President Gayoom suspended the
Special Majlis (Constitutional Assembley) for one month on
December 10 this year, which had been drafting a new
constitution during the last three years. "There were only three
chapters to be completed".
Asked about fears that Gayoom, the
longest ruler in Asia for 29 years, will obstruct the peaceful
transition of power, Naseem replied; "The biggest obstacle we
face is that Gayoom adamant that he contests while remaining in
power. He doesn't want a caretaker government to oversee the
A visiting delegation of European
Parliamentarians last week reiterated its call for free and fair
elections in the Maldives at a meeting organised by the Open
Society in Male.
Robert Evans, MP heading a five-member
delegation had said the EU will urge President Gayoom to keep
his promise and hold free and fair multyparty elections in 2008.
Naseem noted that Evans has stressed
the importance of making the Elections Commission, the
Judiciary, the Civil Service Commission, the Police Integrity
Commission, the Anti Corruption Board, State Media and the State
Prosecutor General independent as they will be key institutions
which will come under the new Constitution.
Opposition alliance leaders recently
held assemblies in Male and the South and will hold rallies and
seminars this week also to garner public support for a
cartetaker government, he explained.
The opposition in Maldives has grouped
into the national Unity Alliance including the Adhaalath Party,
Islamic Democratic Party, Maldivian Social Liberal Party, the
New Maldives Movement and the MDP while a number of NGO's are
also signatories to the alliance, he said.
A document outlining transitional
arrangements for implementing the new Constitution and the
establishment of a national unity government is being actively
promoted in the remote atolls in the Maldives as well as among
the diplomatic community and friendly countries, he added.