Maldivian democracy still work in progress: UN Coordinator

Haveeru Daily
Feb 03, 2011 - 12:00
  • UN Resident Coordinator in the Maldives, Andrew Cox. HAVEERU FILE PHOTO

By David Stephens

MALE, February 3 (HNS) - The United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Maldives, Andrew Cox, suggested that democracy was still a developing entity in the Maldives, and would require some time before it could grow “deep roots”.

“I think it (democracy) has made very large strides but one should not assume that one has democracy the day after the first National Elections. Democracy is a very hard thing to develop, to give deep roots,” Cox, who is also the UNDP Resident Representative, said, while speaking to Haveeru.

“Everybody has a responsibility to deepen democracy. I think that there is not quite a shared vision of what democracy should become here in the Maldives, and I think that in one way or another everybody could do much more in the political domain to deepen democracy.”

His comments come two days ahead of Maldives’ first Local Council Elections, which the country’s chief UN figure says offer an opportunity to strengthen democracy “in a very different way”.

“It is not entirely clear how a local government will work in the Maldives. All we can do is try and see how it goes,” he exerted, adding that it nevertheless “gives the opportunity for democracy to develop in a very real way for many Maldivians”.

Cox revealed that one of the main steps the UN will have to take in the Maldives, post-election, will be to create a project which identifies and supports the work of a Local Government.

Speaking on the UN’s future objectives in the country, Cox said that the world body would collaborate closely with the Elections Commission and the Supreme Court, two vital components for a stable democracy.

Moving away from the subject of democracy, Cox said that the future would hold a number of opportunities for Maldives to continue in the key role it was playing in the sphere of climate change.

“There are some good investments and good resources coming into the Maldives for climate change, so it is very important to make sure there is proper planning and that those monies are spent properly.”

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