United Nations, Oct 31: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has congratulated the people of the Maldives for peaceful conduct of the Indian Ocean archipelago' s first multiparty presidential election earlier this week, calling the poll 'an important step forward in the country's democratic reform process.' Mr Ban commended ''both the outgoing President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the President-elect Mohamed Nasheem for their statesmanship, and urged them to continue to work together to ensure a smooth transition of power,'' according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.
The secretary-general encourages all parties to work in a cooperative manner and continue to carry forward the reform process aimed at achieving a more open and democratic Maldives. In August, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Leandro Despouy welcomed the approval of a new constitution in the Maldives, saying it demonstrated the country's progress towards upholding democratic principles.
The new constitution, the culmination of nearly four years of work by the Special Majlis or constitutional assembly, establishes the separation of powers and recognises the independence of the judiciary.
It contains provisions for the creation of a Supreme Court and the post of prosecutor general, as well as for the setting up of a judicial service commission, an independent body that will decide on the appointment, dismissal and discipline for judges.