Maldives Government and Politics
Following the 1968 Constitution, the Maldives is an independent, unified state and presidential republic according to AllCityCodes.com. The head of state, the president, is approved in general elections after being nominated by the National Assembly, the Citizens’ Council. The election period is five years. The president has executive power and completely dominates the country’s politics. The other government is formally responsible to the Citizens’ Council, but in practice primarily to the President. The Citizens’ Council (Majlis) has 50 members, 42 elected in the general election for five years and 8 appointed by the president. The country’s politics are very personal. The governance is authoritarian, although in recent years there has been a democratizing initiative. Parties are not allowed, but after the 2005 elections, 18 of the 42 seats are considered to belong to the opposition.
The 26 atolls are divided into 19 administrative districts, led by an atoll chief appointed by the president. The capital is controlled directly by the government.
The judiciary is based on Islamic law and English examples. All courts are under the control of the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs. The Supreme Court is the Supreme Court.
The Maldives has a small national security force, the National Security Service, which is a semi-military police force that also includes a coastguard force. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of MV and its meanings of Maldives.
History and Politics
Early history up to the British occupation
It is not known exactly when the Maldives were settled. It is fairly certain that in the 5th century BC Sinhalese Buddhists inhabited the islands. The Maldivian islands were on an important trade route through the Indian Ocean. As early as the 8th and 9th centuries BC, The Phoenicians to the islands. Until the 2nd century Buddhism was probably the predominant religion in the Maldives.
But in the middle of the 12th century the Arabs gained influence as they did a lot of trade with East Asia and the Maldives are by sea to East Asia. Sultans and especially sultanas ruled the Maldives at this time.
The islands also became interesting for Portuguese sailors and they brought Christianity with them in 1558. In 1573 they were driven out again. In the 17th century, the Dutch made the Maldives their protectorate. In 1887 the British conquered Ceylon from the Dutch and the Maldives fell to Great Britain. The islands were now a British protectorate until 1965.
In 1965 the Maldives became independent from Great Britain. In 1968 the sultanate was abolished and the Maldives became a presidential republic. The term republic is a bit misleading, because for a long time people ruled there autocratically. Government affairs are controlled from the capital Malé.
In 2007, the liberal human rights activist Nesheed replaced his predecessor Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who had ruled authoritarian since 1978. Nesheed thus became the country’s first democratically elected president.
The trained marine scientist wanted to reform the country and was also very committed to environmental protection. He also planned to distribute the income from tourism more fairly. However, he also created cheaper accommodation options for tourists and thus also made enemies within the major tourism groups.
A blow to democracy
In February 2012, Nasheed was ousted and resigned at the same time. Mohammed Waheed Hassan took over the official business. In 2013 there were again elections in which Nasheed won, but did not achieve an absolute majority. So the election was declared invalid. He was succeeded by Abdulla Yameen, the brother of long-time President Gayoom.
At the same time, an Islamic opposition working against democracy in the country grew stronger. This claims that the old president would work against Islam. Islam is used as a tool to oppress people. In March 2015, Nasheed was sentenced to a long prison term. He has been in London since 2016.
Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has been President of the Maldives since November 17, 2018. After ex-President Mohamed Nasheed, who was living in exile, decided not to run again, he was surprisingly elected and won against incumbent Abdulla Ymeen, who had to acknowledge his defeat in the end.