By Ahmed Afaal
On October 8, 2008 and on October 28, 2008 the Maldives underwent arguably the most democratic, the freest and the fairest elections in her entire history. This paves the new direction for future elections in the country.
Among the elections held in the country, the upcoming parliamentary election would be one that needs to be watched very carefully. In the past parliamentary elections have been influenced by money, and people with high governmental influence. Maldives went through a stage where the people were, in my words "made corrupt" by persuading them to accept money, goods and many other favours. This lead to a mass corruption where votes were given in return for something, i.e. votes were bought and many people still think that this perhaps is the norm.
Given this, during the last two parliamentary elections a large number of new faces came into both the Special Majlis and the Majlis. Their intentions were clear from what they have done so far. They have fought definitely on behalf of the people in a way that no previous parliament has ever done. They have passed the new constitution that is modern and people friendly. Many laws, most of them good and some with flaws while other laws contradicting each other were also passed.
No one in the country can deny that the current parliament's achievement in facilitating the democratic process, making the government more accountable, and the contributions to the special Majlis in the separation of powers is historic. The achievement of the outgoing Special Majlis in getting a new constitution needs mentioning.
Ironically, the sad truth though is, in order to bring this to the people, powerful business people and other influential people had to, in my words "further corrupt the citizens" by pumping more money and doing more favours to get votes. Votes were sold to the highest bidder last time around. Perhaps this was the only way that these members could have penetrated into the parliament.
Question now is that are the same parliamentarians going to come out this election and advocate that what they did was wrong? Would they come out clean?
Maldivians will definitely watch the actions of these people carefully. Especially these were the very people during the last presidential election, were most vocal and critical about this issue targeting it to the then ruling party's actions. Also, though we have a presidential system, parties will be fighting to get as many members in. Are there going to be totally new politicians who will defy the odds? Will there be those who have the courage to stand up to make the election clean? Would there be those who would and could educate and persuade the public to go on the right path? Only time will tell. We will have to hope that this endemic does not blow into an epidemic but rather get eradicated.
[*This analysis was presented by Ahmed Afaal, for the readers of this blog. He has his own blog (No politics) at http://afaal.blogspot.com/. As always I welcome contributions from the readers of this blog, which I will publish for the benefit of other readers and to keep this blog rich in content.]