Since the introduction of a new constitution in 2008, the parliament, political parties, independent institutions and civil society organisations have played a key role in promoting democracy in the Maldives. During 2008-2012, many stakeholders recognised a positive contribution to that development only to witness, over the next few years, momentum stall, and in some instances reversed, with severe constraints on space for political and civic engagement.
The presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018 and 2019 respectively confirmed the Maldivian people’s desire for change. Following Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) election promise of transformational change, the Maldivian people overwhelmingly voted for the MDP led coalition in the presidential elections and enabled MDP to secure a 2/3 majority in the parliament. The challenge before the new parliament and government is clear; to transition, from a system of authoritarian and highly centralised governance to one that prioritises decentralisation, the rule of law and independent and inclusive democratic institutions. The process of change is ambitious, challenging and complex, with multiple actors and strands of reform. Yet, these developments present a unique window of opportunity to make progress.
Strengthening of parliamentary processes and procedures
Having led the induction and orientation of newly appointed MPs in July 2019, WFD is supporting the Maldives parliament to improve its processes and procedures. This is being done by sharing expertise and training parliamentary staff and MPs on legislative drafting, developing a new code of conduct and supporting the parliament in drafting a strategic plan.
Promotion of inclusive, gender responsive and open parliament initiatives
WFD is providing technical support to parliamentarians and staff to scruitinise laws and policies with a gender sensitive lens. The aim is to build institutional capacity that leads to he parliament becoming a gender-responsive and inclusive legislature.
Parliamentary leadership and oversight committees’ trainings and engagement in UK
WFD is supporting the parliamentary leadership, chairs, vice chairs and officials of key scrutiny and oversight committees through sharing experiences and expertise. This also includes working with the committees on thematic areas such as Environment and Climate Change, and Human Rights and Gender.
Democratic Accountability and Stability Strengthening
41 out of 87 parliamentarians and 9 officials participated in general induction/orientation and the session on gender in July 2019.
All the chairs from 7 governance related committees and 3 officials received training on committee operations, gender scrutiny of law and policy in October 2019.
All 16 committee chairs participated in a workshop on conducting inquiries and good scrutiny practices in August 2019.
13 committee clerks and officials attended a August 2019 workshop on the role of officials in a scrutiny committee and reporting.