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Push for reforms in Maldives

V.S. Sambandan

COLOMBO: Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed on Friday said his country would seek the advice of an expert from the Commonwealth to "fast-track" the constitutional reforms, which have been delayed on account of "parliamentary procedures."

Dr. Shaheed said here the foreign expert would help the Government in the task based on consultations with political parties. The expert is scheduled to start work in January, but there "is no deadline," for completion of the draft. He described the Maldives, in which multi-party democracy is still in its infancy, as a nation in transition.

Referring to the debates on political reforms, he said there was still no definite opinion on whether the Westminster model or the presidential system of governance was better suited.

The 31-point reforms envisaged by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom were on track and several elements had already been introduced, Dr. Shaheed said.

Minister of Justice Mohammed Jameel, and Minister for Information and Arts Mohammed Nasheed briefed journalists and diplomats on the reforms.

Dr. Shaheed also urged "any international body" to visit the country to inspect the human rights conditions.

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