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A sultanate since the 12th century, the Maldives became a British protectorate in 1887. It became a republic in 1968, three years after independence. President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM dominated the islands' political scene for 30 years, elected to six successive terms by single-party referendums. Following riots in the capital Male in August 2003, the president and his government pledged to embark upon democratic reforms including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Progress was sluggish, however, and many promised reforms were slow to be realized. Nonetheless, political parties were legalized in 2005. In June 2008, a constituent assembly - termed the "Special Majlis" - finalized a new constitution, which was ratified by the president in August. The first-ever presidential elections under a multi-candidate, multi-party system were held in October 2008. GAYOOM was defeated in a runoff poll by Mohamed NASHEED, a political activist who had been jailed several years earlier by the former regime. President NASHEED faced a number of challenges including strengthening democracy and combating poverty and drug abuse. In early February 2012, after several weeks of street protests following his sacking of a top judge, NASHEED resigned the presidency and handed over power to Vice President Mohammed WAHEED Hassan Maniku. Maldives officials have played a prominent role in international climate change discussions (due to the islands' low elevation and the threat from sea-level rise) on the United Nations Human Rights Council, and in encouraging regional cooperation, especially between India and Pakistan.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form Republic of Maldives
Conventional short form Maldives
Local long form Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
Local short form Dhivehi Raajje

Government type
Republic

Capital
Name Male
Geographic coordinates 4 10 N, 73 30 E
Time difference
UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions
7 provinces and 1 municipality*; Dhekunu (South), Maale*, Mathi Dhekunu (Upper South), Mathi Uthuru (Upper North), Medhu (Central), Medhu Dhekunu (South Central), Medhu Uthuru (North Central), Uthuru (North)

Independence
26 July 1965 (from the UK)

Constitution
New constitution ratified 7 August 2008

Legal system
Islamic religious legal system with English common law influences, primarily in commercial matters

International law organization participation
Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
President Mohamed WAHEED Hassan Maniku (since 8 February 2012); Vice President Mohamed Waheed DEEN (since 22 February 2012); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
Head of government
President Mohamed WAHEED Hassan Maniku (since 7 February 2012)
Cabinet
Cabinet of Ministers is appointed by the president
Elections
Under the new constitution, the president is elected by direct vote; president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 8 and 28 October 2008 (next to be held in 2013)
Election results
Mohamed NASHEED elected president; percent of vote - Mohamed NASHEED 54.3%, Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM 45.7%; note - Mohamed NASHEED resigned the presidency on 7 February 2012 following weeks of public protests over his controversial order to arrest a senior judge, and Vice President Mohamed WAHEED Hassan Maniku assumed the presidency

Legislative branch
Unicameral People's Council or People's Majlis (77 seats; members elected by direct vote to serve five-year terms); note - the Majlis in February 2009 passed legislation that increased the number of seats to 77 from 50
Elections
Last held on 9 May 2009 (next to be held in 2014)
Election results
Percent of vote - DRP 36.4%, MDP 33.8 %, PA 9.1%, DQP 2.6% Republican Party 1.2%, independents 16.9%; seats by party as of October 2011 - MDP 35, DRP 17, PPM 15, JP 2, PA 2, Meedhu DHAAIRA 1, independents 5

Judicial branch
Supreme Court; Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president with approval of voting members of the People's Council; High Court; Trial Courts; all lower court judges are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission

Political parties and leaders
Adhaalath (Justice) Party or AP [Shaykh Hussein RASHEED Ahmed]; Dhivehi Qaumee Party or DQP [Hassan SAEED]; Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (Maldivian People's Party) or DRP [Ahmed THASMEEN Ali]; Gaumee Itthihaad Party (National Unity Party) or GIP [Mohamed WAHEED]; Islamic Democratic Party or IDP; Maldivian Democratic Party or MDP [Ibrahim DIDI]; Maldives National Congress or MNC; Maldives Social Democratic Party or MSDP; Meedhu Dhaaira; People's Alliance or PA [Abdullah YAMEEN]; People's Party or PP; Poverty Alleviation Party or PAP; Progressive Party of Maldives or PPM [Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM]; Republican (Jumhooree) Party or JP [Gasim IBRAHIM]; Social Liberal Party or SLP [Mazian RASHEED]

Political pressure groups and leaders
Other
Various unregistered political parties

International organization participation
ADB, AOSIS, C, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS (observer), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission
Ambassador Abdul GHAFOOR Mohamed
Chancery
800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400E, New York, NY 10017
Telephone [1] (212) 599-6195
FAX [1] (212) 661-6405

Diplomatic representation from the us
The US does not have an embassy in Maldives; the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Ambassador Patricia A. BUTENIS, is accredited to Maldives and makes periodic visits

Flag description
Red with a large green rectangle in the center bearing a vertical white crescent moon; the closed side of the crescent is on the hoist side of the flag; red recalls those who have sacrificed their lives in defense of their country, the green rectangle represents peace and prosperity, and the white crescent signifies Islam

National symbol(s)
Crescent moon

National anthem
Name
"Gaumee Salaam" (National Salute)
Lyrics/music
Mohamed Jameel DIDI/Wannakuwattawaduge DON AMARADEVA
Note
Lyrics adopted 1948, music adopted 1972; between 1948 and 1972, the lyrics were sung to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne"


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  Maldives (Male):


  GPS points from Maldives (Male)

Nilandu Atoll Maldives (general)

Dewadu Maldives (general)

Wiringili Seenu Atholhu

Low Islet Maldives (general)

Kiadufuri Maldives (general)

Nilandhe Atholhu Dhekunuburi Maldives (general)

Bilifuri Maldives (general)

Madaveli Maldives (general)




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