India sought and received the support of major powers and some of its neighbours on insisting that the election process in Maldives be completed by November 11.
Having returned from Male on Thursday in what turned out to be a failed mission to get the entire political spectrum in Maldives to agree on holding elections while doubts were being raised on the voters’ list, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh met envoys or their deputies from a number of countries on Saturday, all of whom endorsed India’s stand which was reflected in a Foreign Office statement earlier in the day.
Diplomats from P 5 + 1 (U.S., U.K., Russia, France and China plus Germany) besides neighbours Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, in addition to Australia felt India must continue taking the lead in pushing Maldives towards holding elections in a way that there is no power vacuum.
This means elections should be completed by November 11 as there is no provision in the Constitution for a situation in which there is no President by that date, raising concerns that the resulting void would be the breeding ground for instability.
Ambassadors from Malaysia and UAE were among those invited but could not make it as they were out of town.
Most diplomats said their countries will endorse India’s position with separate statements urging the elections not be further delayed with some even suggesting the issue be taken up at international fora such as the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) next month in Colombo.
In the statement issued separately, India expressed “deep disappointment” over the sudden stop to polling after the Elections Commission was “not allowed to proceed as per its Constitutional mandate” and, as the Foreign Secretary had noted a day earlier, wanted the elections to be held because the 88 per cent turn out in the September 7 polling indicated “the high expectation of the people of Maldives in seeing the results of their vote actually being translated into reality”.
India has also called on all parties concerned to “fulfil their responsibility towards the people of Maldives by playing a constructive role in the elections process and fully assisting the Elections Commission in holding the presidential elections without further delay”.