Maldives Politics and History

(Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa). State of Western Asia (298 km²). Capital: Male. Population: 336,224 (2013 estimate). Language: dhivehi (official), English. Religion: 100% Sunni Muslims. Monetary unit: rufiyaa (100 laari). Human Development Index: 0.698 (103rd place). Borders: Indian Ocean. Member of: Commonwealth, OCI, UN and WTO.


British protectorate until independence (1965), since 1968 the Maldives have been a presidential republic. Head of State and at the same time head of government is the President of the Republic, elected for a five-year mandate by the Parliament (Majlis) and confirmed by a national referendum. He is responsible for exercising executive power, with the help of the ministers (appointed by him), accountable to Parliament, which is entrusted with legislative power. The judicial system is based on Islamic law, although reference to the Common Law is envisaged for some commercial mattersBritish. International jurisdiction is not accepted. Justice is administered through a High Court. The defense of the state is not organized according to a real system of armed forces. There are, however, some military air and ground defense corps and a coast guard. The service in the military corps can be carried out from 18 years of age. As regards the education system, despite the fact that schooling is not compulsory in the country, the illiteracy rate is particularly low (3% in 2007). Primary school starts 6 years and lasts for 5 years. Secondary school starts at 11 and ends at 18; it is divided into two cycles, the first of 5 years and the second of 2 years. In 1997 the first university in the country was opened, Teacher Resource Center) and the introduction of teaching methods based also on innovative technologies, as well as on the introduction of broadband connections.


Like other archipelagos in the area, the Maldives were occupied perhaps already at the beginning of the century. I d. C. by the Sinhalese, who introduced the Malayālam language and the Buddhist religion. Commercial port of some importance and as such perhaps partially known also in the West, in the century. XI welcomed the Islamic religion. Their description of the century. XIV is left by the Arab traveler-writer Ibn Baṭṭūta. The Didi dynasty already reigned over the archipelago, whose last sultan was deposed in 1968. XVI to XVIII the islands fell under the successive protectorate of the Portuguese, Dutch and English (from 1887). The latter entered into various treaties with the Maldives, including the fundamental one of 1948 for which the islands obtained self-government, foreign affairs were administered by Great Britain which also obtained military facilities. To control and protect the routes from Gibraltar to Hong Kong, a strategically important British military base was built at the southern end of the Maldives (Gan).

In 1960, in exchange for the help obtained to put down a revolt, the sultan granted Great Britain extensive facilities in the Addu Atoll.. On July 26, 1965, the Maldives were proclaimed independent, receiving immediate international recognition: the military base of Gan remained under British control until 1976. Member of the Colombo Plan since 1963, the new state joined the United Nations in 1965. The 1968 referendum sanctioned the transition from monarchy to republic. In 1975, the President of the Republic Amir Ibrahim Nasir dismissed Prime Minister Ahmed Zaki and assumed his powers.

According to aceinland, the same year Britain withdrew its forces from Addu Atoll. Nasir was succeeded (1978) by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was reconfirmed from 1983 to 1998. The leadership of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, had already been characterized in the Eighties by a choice of maintaining the fundamental characteristics of Maldivian culture and a too accentuated development of tourism could have compromised. This line, supported by a broad popular consensus, was opposed by the powerful hegemonic families in the tourism sector not entirely unrelated to the coup attempt made in 1988 with the landing of Tamil mercenary guerrillas. The decisive Indian intervention, on the occasion also supported by the support of Sri Lanka and the United States itself, allowed the president to block any destabilizing hypothesis. That crisis ended up strengthening Gayoom’s position, around which the consensus of Maldivian society continued to grow, evidently satisfied with the balance shown by the head of state. Starting in the 1990s, there was a cautious liberalization of political life on the one hand, and a severe economic crisis on the other. In 1998 a new constitution was approved. In December 2004 some islands were reached and flooded by the tsunami caused by an earthquake off the island of Sumatra. In June 2005, Parliament unanimously voted for the introduction of multi-partyism. In 2007, a referendum was held to choose between the presidential system and the parliamentary system, in which 61% of the voters voted in favor of the former. In October 2008, opposition leader Mohamed ‘Anni’ Nasheed won the presidential election, interrupting Gayoom’s leadership in office since 1978. In early 2012 Nasheed complained that he had to resign by force, attributing to his deputy Mohamed Waheed Hassan the blame for a coup.

Maldives Politics and History