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Cablegate: Maldives: President Gayoom Ratifies New

VZCZCXRO5514
PP RUEHBI
DE RUEHLM #0744 2201142
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071142Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8509
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 1034
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 8028
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 6202
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4500
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 2205
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 4468
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 0534
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 3569
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 8633
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 6067
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2889

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000744

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS; TOKYO FOR A/S BOUCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MV
SUBJECT: MALDIVES: PRESIDENT GAYOOM RATIFIES NEW
CONSTITUTION

REF: A. COLOMBO 686
B. COLOMBO 656

1. (U) As expected, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom ratified
Maldives' new constitution on August 7, providing a legal
foundation for the first multi-party presidential elections
in Maldives' history. The new constitution sets up a
framework for several politically independent bodies, most
significantly an Election Commission and Supreme Court that
will oversee the upcoming vote and adjudicate any disputes
that arise from the results. Appointing the members of both
institutions will be the next major step in a series of
actions the government and opposition must work together to
accomplish before an October 10th deadline for the selection
of the next President.

2. (U) An opposition Maldives Democratic Party representative
described the ratification as a "big achievement" and said
the party planned a celebration in an open park on the
capital island of Male tonight. During an August 6 meeting
with the South and Central Asian Affairs A/S Boucher the
Police Superintendent had predicted public celebrations after
the announcement. NGO representatives working on monitoring
the upcoming election reported no public celebrations as of
1500. However, the public was reportedly happy with having
the day off, since the President had declared a national
holiday.

3. (U) In a telephone interview on August 7 with TV Maldives,
Ambassador welcomed the ratification of the new constitution
as an historic step. Echoing Assistant Secretary Boucher's
public and private comments during his August 6 visit, the
Ambassador congratulated the Government and opposition
parties for working together to achieve this milestone. But
he also cautioned that much important work remains to be
done. He urged that the opposition parties continue to work
with the Government both to pass the legislation needed to
implement constitutional reforms and also to appoint the
members of the Election Commission, independent judiciary and
other independent institutions that will be crucial to
ensuring that the upcoming Presidential elections are free
and fair.

4. (U) A full readout of Boucher's August 6 meetings in Male
will be reported septel.
BLAKE

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