Parliament endorsed Wednesday a cabinet decision to rejoin the Commonwealth as pledged by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during his campaign.
A recommendation by parliament’s national security committee was approved unanimously with 62 votes.
Some opposition lawmakers who voted in favour were among the 39 MPs who supported former president Abdulla Yameen’s decision to take the Maldives out of the Commonwealth in October 2016.
The Maldives’ 34-year membership of the intergovernmental organisation was ended over alleged unfair treatment, interference in domestic affairs, and threats to sovereignty and independence. It came after the Commonwealth’s democracy watchdog placed the Maldives on its formal agenda over the jailing of opposition leaders.
The Commonwealth exit was widely criticised both at home and abroad. The governments of the UK and Australia had urged the president to reconsider the decision whilst civil society groups called on the government to address criticism of its human rights record.
The Maldives benefited in trade, commerce, travel, medicine, education, sports and youth development through Commonwealth assistance, opposition lawmakers argued at the time.
The cabinet decided to rejoin the Commonwealth two days after President Solih assumed office on November 17.
The Maldives has also started discussions to re-establish diplomatic ties with Qatar and Iran.
The Maldives Parliament has approved the Cabinet decision to rejoin the Commonwealth. We will submit the intention of Maldives to rejoin the Commonwealth to their Secretariat this week. We look forward to formally rejoining the family of Commonwealth nations.
— Abdulla Shahid 🎈 (@abdulla_shahid) December 5, 2018