Male, November 20: The Maldives cabinet has approved to rejoin the Commonwealth, two years after withdrawing from the 53-nation grouping. New President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih made the announcement yesterday, saying that the proposal will be sent to Parliament for ratification.
The country left the Commonwealth during former President Abdulla Yameen's administration in October 2016, amid mounting pressure over corruption and deteriorating human rights.
The new government under President Solih has begun to reset several decisions and policies of the previous administration. The two Supreme Court judges, who were imprisoned since imposition of emergency, have been shifted to house arrest and a committee has been formed to release political detainees.
President Solih's office has issued a 15-page document outlining its agenda for the first 100 days which includes measures to launch investigations into state funds lost through corruption, fraud and money laundering.
Solih's ministers believe being part of the 53-member Commonwealth will provide young Maldivians with opportunities to get educational scholarships and for the country's athletes to play internationally.
"Moreover, the Cabinet ministers noted the importance of Maldives being a member of the Commonwealth, especially in keeping in line with other members of the international community with regard to upholding and promoting human rights, freedom of expression and democracy," the statement said.
Solih defeated Yameen in September's presidential election.
Maldives was a British protectorate until 1965 but did not inherit a full parliamentary system unlike other former colonies.