National Press Club

Ambassador Says Maldives is Now a 'Liberal Democracy'

September 24, 2008

The ambassador of the Republic of Maldives told a September 22 Newsmaker his nation—a collection of 1,192 islands and “islets” off the southwest coast of India--“ushered in a liberal democracy with strengthened human rights safeguards” with the August 7 ratification of a new constitution.

Mohamed Hussain Maniku said the act marked the culmination of almost four years of work by the former British colony's Constitutional Assembly and is seen as “heralding a new era in the democratic history of the nation.”

He said the Maldives government now is “working with political parties, NGOs, other civil society groups and the international community to strengthen the legislative framework in preparation for the country's first multiparty presidential elections to be held before October 10.

Mr. Maniku said the new constitution prescribes clear separation of powers, and introduces a presidential governance arrangement with a multi-party system, a parliament with strong oversight powers and local governance, and establishes several independent oversight bodies. It also provides for an independent Auditor General and a Prosecutor General.