Recently I attended a symposium on improving electoral processes in the Maldives. The symposium was first of its kind held in the Maldives. It was also the first official gathering that I have attended after five years of absence from the political and social scene of the country. Therefore, it was a great learning experience for me. It was also a great opportunity for me to realize how things have changed over the last 5 years and to determine what I need to do in order to be able to better fit/integrate in to this society. I would like to share two important lessons that I learned by taking part in the symposium.
1 Seeking an ideal solution
Discussions were skewed towards finding an ideal solution rather than reaching consensus on important issues. It seems that incremental or continuous improvement (step-by-step approach) is not in stakeholders’ vocabulary.
2 Blaming the legal framework for the failures of the electoral processes
The stakeholders seem to think that legal framework is the solution for everything. While acknowledging that the existing laws and regulations are not well-implemented, stakeholders are with the view that laws and regulations are panacea for all electoral problems. Hence, they proposed more electoral laws and regulations to be enacted, and to bring about legal clarity and improvements to the electoral legal framework.